In the first half of this decade, Downton Abbey was not just one of the Great Britain’s most popular television series, but a worldwide phenomena, taking home numerous accolades, including Golden Globe and Emmy wins. The series went off the air in 2015, but four years later, showrunner Julian Fellows and most of the main cast have reunited for the Downton Abbey movie, which arrives in theaters next week.
It’s always a risky prospect re-visiting the world of a beloved TV series, whether it’s for one movie or a full-blown small screen revival? So how is Downton Abbey faring with early critical reception? Based on the reviews that have come out so far, it sounds like it’s a decent follow-up to the show packed with nostalgia, though it ranks closer on the mixed side of the spectrum.
Starting off, CinemaBlend’s own Mike Reyes awarded Downton Abbey 4.5 out of 5 stars in his review, saying that the movie brings back all the charm of the TV series while providing “a few new tricks for fans and newcomers alike to enjoy.”
The Hollywood Reporter’s Leslie Felperin was similarly pleased with Downton Abbey, calling it “satisfyingly sumptuous” and saying that this “satisfyingly dense deep dive into Downton-land is clearly getting the infrastructure ready” to perhaps keep the story going in more movies.
Helen O’Hara from Empire had a more mixed reaction to Downton Abbey, giving it 3 out of 5 stars. In her opinion, if you’re already a fan of the series, you’ll enjoy your time with these characters again, but if you’re brand new to this early 20th century look at British aristocracy, there’s not enough to draw you into this “aggressively gentle nostalgia trip.”
The New York Post’s Johhny Oleksinski was even more critical towards Downton Abbey, stamping it with just 1.5 out of 4 stars and declaring it’s “two thumbs ‘Downton.’”
Back in more positive territory, June Thomas from Slate gave Downton Abbey three out of five stars, admitting that while she was “sick of the sight of that famous estate” by the time the series concluded, this movie serves as a delightful offering that manages to “every member of the cast to do what we expect of them.”
Finally, IndieWire’s Hanh Nguyen gave Downton Abbey a B grade, saying that this big screen continuation “doesn’t miss a beat when it comes to maintaining the look and feel of that lavish fairy tale.”
These are just some of the reviews out now for Downton Abbey, so feel free to look around to find out what others thought. The movie revolves around King George V and Queen Mary visiting the eponymous estate in 1927, causing a stir among the Crawley family and the servants. The new faces appearing alongside the old favorites include Geraldine James, Simon Jones, Tuppence Middleton, Stephen Campbell Moore and Kate Phillips.
You can judge Downton Abbey for yourself when it opens wide on December 20. In the meantime, find out what other movies there are to look forward to for the rest of the year in our 2019 release schedule.
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