Saturday, January 8, 2011

Downton Abbey - Masterpiece Theatre

MOVIE REVIEW

Downton Abbey

Network: PBS

Original Air Date: January 9, 16, 23 & 30, 2011

*NOT Family Friendly! Read under Comments Area Below!

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CAST:

Robert, Earl of Grantham ... Hugh Bonneville
Lady Sybil Crawley ... Jessica Brown-Findlay
Lady Edith Crawley ... Laura Carmichael
Mr. Carson ... Jim Carter
John Bates ... Brendan Coyle
Lady Mary Crawley ... Michelle Dockery
O'Brien ... Siobhan Finneran
Anna ... Joanne Froggatt
William ... Thomas Howes
Thomas ... Rob James-Collier
Gwen ... Rose Leslie
Mrs. Hughes ... Phyllis Logan
Cora, Countess of Grantham ... Elizabeth McGovern
Daisy ... Sophie McShera
Mrs. Patmore ... Lesley Nicol
Violet, Dowager Countess of Grantham ... Maggie Smith
Matthew Crawley ... Dan Stevens
Isobel Crawley ... Penelope Wilton
Sir Anthony Strallan ... Robert Bathurst
Lady Rosamund Painswick ... Samantha Bond
Duke of Crowborough ... Charlie Cox
George Murray ... Jonathan Coy
Molesley ... Kevin Doyle
Taylor ... Lionel Guyett
Postmaster ... Jonathan Jaynes
Paperboy ... Perry Millward
Postmaster's Wife ... Helen Sheals
Lynch ... Andrew Westfield
Charles Grigg ... Nicky Henson
Kemal Pamuk ... Theo James
Tom Branson ... Allen Leech
Shopkeeper ... Roger Morlidge
John Drake ... Fergus O'Donnell
Evelyn Napier ... Brandan Patricks
Dr. Clarkson ... David Robb
Mrs. Drake ... Cathy Sara
Man at Smithy ... Colin R. Campbell
Joe Burns ... Bill Fellows
Bill Molesley ... Bernard Gallagher
Nurse ... Elizabeth Hill
Clerk ... Martin Reeve
Farmer ... Dean Williamson
Liberal Candidate ... Jamie De Courcey
NCO ... Richard Hawley
Dr. at Moorfields Hospital ... Ian Kelly
Thug ... Mark Kelly
Mrs. Bird ... Christine Lohr
High Sherriff ... Gerard McDermott
Mr. Bromidge ... Sean McKenzie
Mrs. Bates







PLOT:

from PBS:

The Downton Abbey estate stands a splendid example of Victorian confidence and mettle, its family enduring for generations and its staff a well-oiled machine of propriety. But change is afoot at Downton — change far surpassing the new electric lights and telephone. A crisis of inheritance threatens to displace the resident Crawley family, in spite of the best efforts of the noble and compassionate Earl, Robert Crawley (Hugh Bonneville, Miss Austen Regrets); his American heiress wife, Cora (Elizabeth McGovern); his comically implacable, opinionated mother, Violet (Maggie Smith, David Copperfield); and his beautiful, eldest daughter, Mary, intent on charting her own course. Reluctantly, the family is forced to welcome its heir apparent, the self-made and proudly modern Matthew Crawley (Dan Stevens), himself none too happy about the new arrangements. As Matthew's bristly relationship with Mary begins to crackle with electricity, hope for the future of Downton's dynasty takes shape. But when petty jealousies and ambitions grow among the family and the staff, scheming and secrets — both delicious and dangerous — threaten to derail the scramble to preserve Downton Abbey. Created and written by Oscar-winner Julian Fellowes (Gosford Park), Downton Abbey offers a spot-on portrait of a vanishing way of life.



Movie Review:

I was hoping for a nice period drama. I'm tired of constant Immorality portrayed on Modern TV. However, I have just learned that this film contains a same-sex couple kiss within the first episode. I was looking at a lovely blog, titled: Enchanted Serenity of Period Films and discovered this information from reading a well-written response from someone there. I hope they don't mind my sharing this news here:

"It's interesting that apparently the Brits think we Americans aren't as sophisticated as they are when it comes to our entertainment preferences, and yet they didn't hesitate to promote their progressive worldview as far as the same-sex kiss in the first episode. The storyline and acting are terrific, but that scene definitely takes it off the family-friendly list for countless period piece fans in the U.S. Really a shame, as they could have implied that relationship without showing it graphically." - Emilie



See or Skip:

Skip. Do NOT see this show with your family!


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10 comments:

  1. Oh my goodness!

    Has anyone else seen this, yet?? It is fabulous! The only downfall is an offensive, minor subplot in E1, that nevertheless makes it inappropriate for family viewing.
    Even still, if you like British costume drama, this is a must-see. =)

    Thanks for all you do to post all this info. NetMovieBlogger; looking forward to "Change of Plans" tonight since the other 3 Wal-Mart movies were wonderful.

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  2. What an intriguing show! I can't wait for the ensuing episodes. Was not surprised to see the "Gosford Park" connection, as it is certainly reminiscent of that excellent film...

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  3. Just keeping watching, Paula. It only gets better. =)

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  4. It is, in fact, excellent.

    Bernard Gallagher, the actor playing Bill Molesley, is absolutely brilliant. He conveys so much with so few words and with such subtle expressions. One of my favourite scenes is when Matthew Crawley, having realized that Molesley's job is just as legitimate as his, finally permits Molesley to perform his valet duties.

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  5. Oops! I seem to have made a mistake: the actor who plays Molesley so wonderfully is Kevin Doyle, not Bernard Gallagher.

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  6. Webdancer: That was a great moment, wasn't it!? Matthew's character is a really good one, but... oh, I won't say anything more lest I spoil it for those that do no like spoilers. =) Enjoy!

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  7. Grand, simply grand ... this fascinating series ... in addition to superlative acting is the attention to details so essential to creating a sense of history. Especially enjoyed Maggie Smith's reprise of the scene in this third episode wherein Dame May Whitty's character Lady Beldon, in the 1942 classic "Mrs. Miniver', in acknowledging changing times and values, awards the prize for the best rose in the county not to herself as was the past 'tradition' but to the town bellringer. Maggie Smith re-enactment of this scene as the Dowager Lady Downton matches the emotional energy of Dame May Whitty ... though without (fortunately) the Second World War supplying the added pathos. If the quality of all television could but approach that of this production and the many other fine Masterpiece Theatre productions.

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  8. One of the BEST series in years! I do not want it to end. I keep re-watching my taped episodes. Takes me back to "Upstairs - Downstairs" and I wish this wonderful movie could be turned into an on-going series. I don't want to say "good-bye."

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  9. Anonymous: "Downton" is going to be a series! Isn't that just GRAND!? It is set to return late this year with a Christmas special. =) So exciting!! CANNOT wait!

    For those of you that aren't watching this because of the couple inappropriate scenes, you should check into "Lark Rise to Candleford." It's a lovely little drama with four seasons to its name, although this (the 4th) will be its last, for the most part I cannot remember too many content concerns.

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  10. This addictive series continued its excellence into Season 2. It succeeded in introducing a couple of new characters into the mix without watering or muddling the plot. Most notably, it gave Matthew Crawley (Dan Stevens) a fiancée - Lavinia Swire as played by Zoe Boyle - and Lady Mary Crawley (cast standout Michelle Dockery) a fiancé - Sir Richard Carlisle as played by Iain Glen. Both additions are very effective...for very different reasons: Swire because she's likable and winning, even to putative romantic rival Lady Mary; Carlisle because he is wonderfully complex, scheming and increasingly unlikable (by design). And, it turns out that Carlisle has the goods on both Lady Mary (news of her dalliance with the Turkish diplomat is something he both thwarts as press baron and wields as potential partner) and Lavinia (he also threatens to expose a family secret of hers). How that foursome plays out is one of the dominant arcs of Season 2.

    Writer Julian Fellowes triumph is that he balances that compelling thread with a number of others of interest to viewers. The next of particular note is maid Anna's romance with Brendan Coyle's Mr. Bates, valet to Hugh Bonneville's Lord Robert Crawley. Coyle - an unlikely sex symbol if there ever was one (as he laughingly admits) - is put through the gamut of the highest highs and lowest lows. The high: the hand in marriage to Joanne Froggatt's Anna, the emotional anchor of story. She's the story's single most lovable character - pure, ardent, resolute, slyly beautiful. The low: tried for murder for the death of his despicable first wife. To say that Season 2 does not end on a high note for Mr. Bates is vastly understating the case.

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