DOWNTON ABBEY – Review by Leslie Combemale

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You don’t really know the fans of Downton Abbey until you sit in a darkened theater as the first strains of the theme song start playing, to a bust of applause, and even a few gasps. Thus begins the feature film that feels like its only raison d’etre is to tie all the storylines and character arcs into big, flouncy bows, of the kind one sees on the back of a bejeweled 20s-era frock.

It barely matters what happens over the course of the 2 hours. Devotees will most thrill at Dame Maggie Smith and Penelope Wilton’s verbal sparring, with the costuming and manor house views running a close second. It is indeed a good thing the plot is of little consequence, since there is so little of it. The king and queen come to Downton Abbey overnight. Chaos, upstairs/downstairs machinations, minor scandals, and general rich white manor house people problems ensue. The characters, all of whom have their fans, have quite a wide spectrum onscreen representation, from those who star (Smith’s Lady Crawley, thank goddess for snarky, smirking matriarchs, and Allen Leech’s Tom Branson, thank god for ever-grieving Irish upstarts), to those featured (Elizabeth McGovern and Hugh Bonneville share a fair amount of screen time), to those barely there (Brendan Coyle and Matthew Goode, who must be busy on other projects, because between them, they might have 20 lines). All story threads, as written by show creator Julian Fellowes, are clearly designed to create a feeling of comfort and closure for lovers of the acclaimed, award-winning series. Continue reading…

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Leslie Combemale

Leslie Combemale writes as Cinema Siren on her own website,, and is a frequent contributor to MPA's, where she interviews filmmakers above and below the line, with a focus on women and diverse voices. She is the Senior Contributor at Leslie is in her 9th year as producer and moderator of the influential "Women Rocking Hollywood" panel at San Diego Comic-Con. She is a world-renowned expert on cinema art and her film art gallery, ArtInsights, located near DC, has celebrated cinema art and artists for 30 years.