Downton Abbey 2: A New Era- A Blueprint Sequel [critique]

Seven years after its final episode, Julian Fellowes’ series continues its life on the big screen. A new opus not devoid of an old-fashioned but dispensable charm

Seven years after its sixth and final season, Downton Abbey continues its life on the big screen. After Michael Engler’s film released in 2019 which recounted the hectic preparations for the visit of the King and Queen to the Crawley estate, we find the most famous of British aristocratic families and their servants in 1928 for a double intrigue. On the one hand, the shooting of a silent Hollywood film in the heart of the castle which turns the household upside down. On the other, a trip to the south of France to find out more about the man who bequeathed Lady Violet (the always masterful Maggie Smith) a sumptuous villa on the shores of the Mediterranean.

We do not sulk our pleasure to find the characters we have loved so much and the actors who embodies them (Michelle Dockery, Hugh Bonneville, Elizabeth McGovern…) like the new Frenchies (Jonathan Zaccaï and Nathalie Baye who portrays the son and the wife of the mysterious donor). But there is really something too plan plan both in the conduct of the story and in the realization (Simon Curtis, to whom we owe in particular My week with Marilyn) to be carried away. Like the previous film, this sequel has everything from an episode that is both too stretched and lacking in time to develop in depth the various subplots that compose it. The ellipse is not the strong point of Julian Fellowes’ screenplay, which, by dint of highlighting everything, kills in the bud the surprises that each twist is supposed to give rise to. Nothing here is unpleasant, but everything is too overstated – especially in the psychology of the characters, too often reduced to a single color – for this Downton Abbey II- A New Era (constructed as the handover between Lady Violet and her descendants) appears essential.

By Simon Curtis. With Michelle Dockery, Hugh Bonneville, Nathalie Baye… Duration: 2h06. Released April 27, 2022

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