“a new era” that looks more like a final goodbye

And two! Seven years after the end (for France) of the popular British television series depicting a British aristocratic family and their staff at the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries, Downton Abbey service resumed. The first cinema adaptation, released in September 2019, articulated around a royal visit, was not enough. Screenwriter Julian Fellows still had it under his belt. Come here Downton Abbey IIwhich promises the viewer “a new eraFor the French, the promise is twofold, as part of the Crawley family travels to the south of France on this occasion, in search of a mystery.

Here we are in 1928. The Dowager Countess, Lady Violet (Maggie Smith), summons her lawyer and the family. She has just inherited the luxurious Villa des Colombes, located in France near Toulon, which she in turn plans to bequeath to one of her great-granddaughters. It was a certain Marquis de Montmirail, who died recently, who left him this beautiful residence, where he and his family have always spent their summers. What is behind this legacy? This man and Violet lived together”an enchanted hook‘, on the spot, sixty years ago, and this, shortly before the birth of Lord Grantham… Could Lady Violet have sinned?

At the same time, a Hollywood filmmaker, Mr. Barber, for his next silent film to be shot at Downton Abbey. An unthinkable idea for Lord Grantham. But the money that promises to pay for the production could help to renovate the very bad roof of his Gothic Revival castle, as his daughter Lady Mary (Michelle Dockery) points out, now “only captain on board“The approval is finally given to the shooting, and as the staff rejoices in meeting stars from the big screen “in truthThe majority of the family, accompanied in particular by the former butler Carson, follows closely behind. Towards the Côte d’Azur, where the new Marquis de Montmirail, son of the deceased, has kindly invited them.

A scene from "Downton Abbey II, a new era"believed to be located in the south of France in 1928. (FOCUS FEATURES LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED)

Of course, we are happy to find all the endearing actors of this human comedy, who have aged a little, at the same pace as us. But our expectations, which our tribe fantasized”so british“against rubbing” The artist and to Gatsby, will not be filled. The plot is very thin, and if the permanent format that parallels the two stories (the Downton shooting and the south escape) resembles the method that very often gives the series guts, the storyline wouldn’t hold up. more than two TV episodes. So what’s the point of bringing it to the big screen?

Thankfully, the lavish sets and costumes are still there, as are the delightful bits of humor, and the actors are good, if understaffed. We always enjoy the eagle eye of Carson (Jim Carter), the benevolent grumpiness of the cook Mrs Patmore (Lesley Nicol) and the moonside of Mr Molesley (Kevin Doyle), who this time will discover hidden talents. †

The arrival of the new one even brings a little spice. Nathalie Baye, an exasperated widow of the Marquis de Montmirail, who has no intention of being robbed and threatens to take the case to court. The son of this one, played by Jonathan Zacai seen in The office of legends, who welcomes the family with all due respect. The protagonist of the silent film, the solar Guy Dexter (Dominic West) who flirts with the butler Thomas Barrow (Rob-James Collier).

Isabelle Gray (Penelope Wilton) and Lady Violet Crawley (Maggie Smith) in a scene from "Downton Abbey II, a new era"†  (FOCUS FEATURES LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED)

All this, however, is sorely lacking in surprises and excitement. Where did the bite and the tension go? The difficulties of the small staff and the bad faith of the powerful? Even the stubborn Violet has a soft touch here. Everyone is affable and swims with happiness, and the story dozes off with gentle good thinking, without even stripping a few unnecessary teardrops.

Perhaps to compensate, the screenplay multiplies the resolutions and happy endings of many minor underlying intrigues (especially romantic ones), which have been put on hold for a long time. So that this movie looks like a final point this time. Unless the servants become successful actors with the advent of talkies that serve as the backdrop for the film, and all the conventions of the nobility are turned upside down by the crisis of 29 looming on the horizon (and of which we find no trace here) , we don’t see how a sequel would be possible. The hour of farewell has come. As Neil Young sang: “it is better to burn honestly than to die slowly

the movie poster "Downton Abbey II, a new era"released in France on April 27, 2022. (FOCUS FEATURES LLC)

Genre : drama, history
Director : Simon Curtis
Script : Julian Fellowes
pays : United Kingdom, United States
Expensive : 2:06 am
distributor : Focus Features LLC
Sortie : April 27, 2022

Of : Hugh Bonneville, Maggie Smith, Michelle Dockery, Elizabeth McGovern, Laura Carmichael, Jonathan Zaccai, Nathalie Baye, Rob James-Collier…

Short content : 1928. Violet, the widow of the Granthams, calls the family: she has just inherited a villa in the south of France, a generous inheritance from a certain Marquis de Montmirail. At the same time, a director of the cinema wants to shoot his new silent film, the gambler, at Downton Abbey. The offer is tempting in light of the heavy renovation work ahead of the estate. While production prepares to take over the property, the family plans to take the opportunity to discover the villa on the Côte d’Azur…

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