Downton Abbey: A New Era

The Crawleys go meta in Downton Abbey: A New Era, the latest chapter of the Downton Abbey saga which sees the aristocratic family closing out the roaring ‘20s in grand fashion as a motion picture crew comes to the Abbey to shoot a movie.

Of course, the six-season PBS series made its own successful transition to movies back in 2019 with its first film adaptation, and this latest cinematic installment (this time directed by Simon Curtis) carries forward that familiar Yorkshire country comfort with the same grace and decorum we’ve all come to know and love. This is soap opera escapism at its very best, so settle in with the Crawleys and a spot of tea as money issues thrust the family into a new chapter.

"a charming and delightful passing of the torch in more ways than one"

With a leaky roof threatening the structural integrity of the estate and finances running on a razor thin margin, Lady Mary (Michelle Dockery), who now runs the place, is all but forced to acquiesce to the desires of a film company, led by director Hugh Dancy (Jack Barber) wanting to shoot a silent movie at Downton. As you might imagine, the news is met with mixed reactions as the servant staff is delighted beyond belief at the prospect of meeting a movie star, while the top of the house grouses at the thought of stooping so low as to let a film crew sit at the same table where the Queen of England once sat.

As this thread plays out, many will recall similarly explored territory in 1952’s Singin’ in the Rain, when Dancy is asked to transition the film to a “talkie” halfway through the shoot. Problems arise though when the film’s beautiful movie star, Myrna (Laura Haddock) is unable to shed her tawdry working-class accent. To the rescue comes Lady Mary who reluctantly agrees to provide voiceover for Myrna’s speaking parts.

Meanwhile, Lord Robert (Hugh Bonneville) and Lady Cora (Elizabeth McGovern) steam across the channel to chase down the news of the villa in the South of France which Lady Grantham (Maggie Smith) has purportedly inherited from a man she met many wistful years ago.Downton Abbey: A New Era

Drawing much of its charm and humor from the priceless fish-out-of-water moments as our beloved characters take their first steps into the modern world, CurtisNew Era is a charming and delightful passing of the torch in more ways than one. Fans of the show will undoubtedly find plenty of soapy fun in which to wallow, and I would be surprised if a few newcomers aren’t picked up along the way. It is simply that adorable and captivating, even as an entry point into the Downton saga.

Curtis, working with screenwriter Julian Fellowes, smartly sticks to the script, so to speak, by resisting the temptation to take the plot and characters anywhere other than where they’ve always been. There’s far too much well-versed fandom out there to get overly wild and loose with the Downton Cinematic Universe.

Though not a particularly complicated task with such well-known material, the numerous plot strands are expertly balanced with no thread overstaying its welcome. Also, we get ample time to visit with each of our favorite characters.

There’s nothing earth-shattering or particularly groundbreaking going on with Downton Abbey: A New Era. But, then again, that’s exactly how the Crawley’s would want it.

The legacy continues, indeed.

1/5 stars

Film Details

Downton Abbey: A New Era

MPAA Rating: PG for some suggestive references, language and thematic elements.
125 mins
: Simon Curtis
Julian Fellowes
Hugh Bonneville; Jim Carter; Michelle Dockery
: Drama
The Legacy Continues.
Memorable Movie Quote: "They better be warned. The British are coming."
Theatrical Distributor:
Focus Features
Official Site:
Release Date:
May 20, 2022
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date:

Synopsis: From award-winning creator Julian Fellowes comes the motion picture event DOWNTON ABBEY: A NEW ERA. The much-anticipated cinematic return of the global phenomenon reunites the beloved cast as they go on a grand journey to the South of France to uncover the mystery of the Dowager Countess’ newly inherited villa.


Downton Abbey: A New Era