Downton Abbey Film Review and Interview

On Friday, September 20th, I attended a special screening and press day for Downton Abbey at Culina, located at The Four Seasons Hotel in Beverly Hills. The morning started with delicious mimosas, coffee, and decadent treats from Magnolia Bakery.

I am a huge fan of the Downton Abbey television series. I was so upset when it ended because I wanted more! Two summers ago, I was lucky enough bask in all things “Downton” at “Downton: The Exhibit” in New York.

The movie did not disappoint. I loved every minute of it! The Royal Family visit storyline was fantastic. I indulged in the magnificent wardrobe changes and pomp and circumstance of the parade, complete with over 80 troops on horseback. Just watching them on screen made me want to sit up a little taller!

A friend of mine who hasn’t seen the television show asked me if he should watch the “Downton Abbey” film. I told him he needed to binge watch the series first and then to could watch the film, otherwise it wouldn’t have the same effect. This movie was, indeed, created due to fan demand.

For me, the desire for a film of a series is an expression of how much people miss the show, itself, and, besides, in Downton Abbey the house was the main character in the drama.

Julian Fellowes, writer of Downton Abbey

All the characters we know and love, and love to hate had their moment. We were treated to several quips from crowd favorite Violet Crawley (played by Dame Maggie Smith), knowing looks from Cora Crawley (played by Elizabeth McGovern), and the eternal RBF of Lady Mary (played by Michelle Dockery). Mr. Carson (played by Jim Carter) returns, as does Mr. Molesley (played by Kevin Doyle). There is romance, scandal, humor, and of course secrets. Downton Abbey was a delight I could watch again, which in turn, would make me want to binge watch the series once more.

I laughed, I cried, and I wanted more. It was such a treat to chat with actors Allen Leech (who plays Tom Branson), Elizabeth McGovern (who plays Cora Crawley), and Hough Bonneville (who plays Robert Crawley) after the screening!

The press junket crew with Allen Leech, Elizabeth McGovern, and Hugh Bonneville

They confirmed American audiences are the biggest fans of Downton Abbey.

Rob James-Collier (who plays Thomas Barrow), I think, summed it up brilliantly when he said ‘in the U.S., fans will cross roads and risk being knocked down to tell you they love your show. And in the U.K., people will cross roads and risk being run down just to tell you they don’t watch it.’

Allen Leech
Actor Stephen Campbell Moore, producer Liz Trubridge and actors Allen Leech and Michelle Dockery on the set of DOWNTON ABBEY, a Focus Features release.
Credit : Jaap Buitendijk / © 2019 Focus Features, LLC

They consider each other family

I had a very poignant moment with Hugh actually. We snuck in at the New York premiere. And we stood at the back of the theater for the last 20 minutes of the movie. And for me, I’ll take this incredible journey that we had over ten years. And the amazing family I have. 

Allen Leech
Actors Hugh Bonneville and Michelle Dockery on the set of DOWNTON ABBEY, a Focus Features release. Credit: Jaap Buitendijk / Focus Features

Parenting lessons learned from their characters

I think that taught me something as a father apart from anything else, a father of a teenager. That actually we’ve all made our own mistakes. So long as you are a parent, you are there as a safety net.

Hugh Bonneville
Kevin Doyle stars as Mr. Molesley in DOWNTON ABBEY, a Focus Features release.
Credit: Jaap Buitendijk / Focus Features

Something about Mr. Molesley

…the character [Mr. Molesley] was I think originally commissioned if you like for two or three episodes in season one. And then Kevin [Doyle] brought something so remarkable to the character, the sort of almost “Chaplain-esque” hang door quality, which can be utterly heartbreaking and very fun at the same time.

Hugh Bonneville
Michelle Dockery stars as Lady Mary Talbot, Elizabeth McGovern as Lady Grantham and Laura Carmichael as Lady Hexham in DOWNTON ABBEY, a Focus Features release. Credit: Jason Bell / © 2019 Focus Features, LLC

When The Duchess of Cambridge, Kate Middleton, visited the set

She was due to stay for an hour or so. And her detectives were checking their watch because she was there for about three hours because she was having such a good time looking around the wardrobe bus and learning how everything worked.

Hugh Bonneville
(L to R) Phyllis Logan stars as Mrs. Hughes, Jim Carter as Mr. Carson, Kevin Doyle as Mr. Molesley, Raquel Cassidy as Miss Baxter, Joanne Froggatt as Anna Bates, Brendan Coyle as Mr. Bates, Sophie McShera as Daisy, Lesley Nicol as Mrs. Patmore, Robert James-Collier as Thomas Barrow and Michael C. Fox as Andy in DOWNTON ABBEY, a Focus Features release. Credit : Jaap Buitendijk / © 2019 Focus Features, LLC

Will there be more Downton Abbey for the fans?

I think if you can just persuade all your friends to go and see the movie, then maybe we’ll do another one.

Hugh Bonneville

Downton Abbey Trailer

Downton Abbey the Movie

This fall, the worldwide phenomenon DOWNTON ABBEY, becomes a grand motion picture event, as the beloved Crawleys and their intrepid staff prepare for the most important moment of their lives. A royal visit from the King and Queen of England will unleash scandal, romance and intrigue that will leave the future of Downton hanging in the balance. Written by series creator Julian Fellowes and starring the original cast.

Based on the television series created by JULIAN FELLOWES and produced by CARNIVAL FILMS Directed by MICHAEL ENGLER

Thank you, Focus Features, for inviting me as a member of the press to attend this press junket, screen the film. Thank you to Magnolia Bakery for the delicious treats, and to Culina at The Four Seasons Hotel in Beverly Hills for providing such a beautiful venue. All opinions are honest and 100% my own. No monetary compensation was exchanged for this post.