The Crawley family has been expecting us at their iconic English country house, and this time around they’ve got company. The Downton Abbey movie places these familiar characters in a new predicament – preparing for a royal visit from the King and Queen.
If you ever doubted whether interior decorating could look epic, you should watch this trailer: you are wrong, I assure you. The situation might seem like proper fare for a comedy, but not here. There is drama and elegance in every folded sheet, every polished banister, each and every meticulously-scrubbed silver dish. There is suspense as Violet Crawley (Maggie Smith) holds the family together even as the tension threatens to break them apart. There is a palpable sense of fear as the dreaded car arrives at the very end of the trailer – the music swells to a crescendo. Will the King and Queen be properly entertained by the royal luncheon, parade, and dinner? To quote Mrs. Patmore – “I think I might have to sit down!”
Downton Abbey knows the kind of audience its targeting – the audience that will cheer and gasp when all of the characters are revealed at the opening of the trailer, getting out of their fancy automobile; the audience that watched the TV series and will recognize every little Easter-egg hidden throughout the trailer, tiny British callbacks to the show. Downton Abbey‘s new status as a feature-length film, however, also means it’s targeting another type of viewer – the critic. The show broke the Guinness World Record for the highest critically rated TV show of all time, winning 3 Golden Globes and 15 Emmys, and an 86% Fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Focus Features, the studio behind the Downton Abbey movie, is itself a critical darling, and star Maggie Smith has two Oscars to her name. Is this small-stakes, charmingly antiquated movie about laundry-folding and royal brunch actually going to aim for an Academy Award? It would certainly be a triumphant way for all involved to finally leave the show.
Well, I am certainly intrigued by the possibility that this movie might be more of an event film than previously guessed. It’s time to polish up the silverware and pour yourself some tea, sit back and eagerly wait for September.
Trailer Rating: 7.5/10