Downton Abbey

Downton Abbey

2019, PG, 122 min. Directed by Michael Engler. Starring Maggie Smith, Imelda Staunton, Penelope Wilton, Matthew Goode, Hugh Bonneville, Laura Carmichael, Jim Carter, Brendan Coyle, Michelle Dockery, Kevin Doyle, Allen Leech, Phyllis Logan, Robert James-Collier, Elizabeth McGovern, Joanne Froggatt, Sophie McShera, Lesley Nicol.

REVIEWED By Kimberley Jones, Fri., Sept. 20, 2019

“It’s ... cute!” “It’s ... pretty good!” You know it when you hear it: the audible ellipsis in search of something noncommittally positive, the pitch inflecting brightly into an invisible exclamation point. I’ve been using it all week anytime somebody asked me what I thought of Downton Abbey, a two-hour film extension of the British TV program of the same name, itself an enjoyably sudsy comic melodrama made classy with period history, a passing interest in income inequality, and – in America – the dignified imprimatur of Masterpiece Theatre. Fans of the show (of which I am one) should be satisfied if not entirely sated with the first new Downton material since it went off the air in 2015. Those with no prior knowledge of the show should probably see what’s playing in the next theatre over.

If you already know who lives comfortably upstairs (the Crawley family) and toils day and night downstairs (scullery maid, valet, and so on) at this Yorkshire country estate in 1927, then the film’s cavalcade of familiar faces is a treat. Most of them don’t get much more than a wink and a smile and a line or two; with 30-plus speaking parts, series creator Julian Fellowes’ script strains to give them all something to do. The central action – I hesitate to call it anything so vigorous as a plot – involves preparations for an overnight stay by the king and queen, then complications that arise during their state visit. The downstairs staff’s storylines suffer the most from the downsizing from season-long pacing to mere feature-length; rushing around in a silly war of wills with the royal family’s entourage of servants, they eat up screen time that might have saved other narrative detours from feeling so rushed – the once-villainous valet-turned-noble-ish-butler Thomas’ (James-Collier) exploration of his sexuality, for instance, or Lady Mary Crawley’s (Dockery) conflictedness over running the estate, which is only gestured at.

Ah, but the opulent costumes are glorious, the autumnal light enchanting, and if you don’t know how to feel about a certain scene, composer John Lunn’s jaunty, carryover music cues are there to nudge you in the right direction following a romantic moment or Dowager Countess zing. (On the subject of the latter: Yes, the 84-year-old Maggie Smith is back as the Crawley materfamilias, and as ever she’s the MVP.) Downton Abbey may not soar to new heights or tender any surprises, but there’s a pleasure to its predictableness. It’s so very ... capable.

Showtimes

Thu., Oct. 17

11:35am, 2:45

Alamo Drafthouse Slaughter Lane

5701 W. Slaughter, 512/861-7060, drafthouse.com/austin/theater/slaughter-lane

Showtimes at this venue are subject to frequent change. Please confirm daily times by phone or website.

Thu., Oct. 17

12:10, 2:35, 6:20, 9:25

Fri., Oct. 18

11:00am, 2:10

Sat., Oct. 19

12:00, 3:00, 6:20

Sun., Oct. 20

1:05, 9:30

Mon., Oct. 21

12:40, 3:00, 10:15

Tue., Oct. 22

3:00, 10:20
AFA 12:40

Wed., Oct. 23

12:40, 3:00, 9:55

Thu., Oct. 17

12:20, 3:25

Alamo Drafthouse Village

2700 W. Anderson #701, 512/861-7030, www.drafthouse.com/austin/theater/village

Tuesday matinee Baby Day shows (first show of the day) are intended for parents and their children younger than 6. Showtimes at this venue are subject to frequent change. Please confirm daily times by phone or website.

Thu., Oct. 17

12:00, 1:30, 4:30

Arbor Cinema @ Great Hills

9828 Great Hills Trail, 512/231-9742

Discounts daily before 6pm.

Thu., Oct. 17

CC/DVS 12:10, 3:10, 6:20, 9:10

Fri., Oct. 18

CC/DVS 12:10, 3:10, 6:20, 9:10

Sat., Oct. 19

CC/DVS 12:10, 3:10, 6:20, 9:10

Sun., Oct. 20

CC/DVS 12:10, 3:10, 6:20, 9:10

Mon., Oct. 21

CC/DVS 12:10, 3:10, 6:20, 9:10

Tue., Oct. 22

CC/DVS 12:10, 3:10, 6:20, 9:10

Cinemark 20 and XD

N. I-35 & FM 1825, 512/989-8535

Cost for 3-D and XD shows is regular ticket price plus a premium.

Thu., Oct. 17

digital 12:55, 3:55

Fri., Oct. 18

digital 11:45am

Sat., Oct. 19

digital 11:45am

Sun., Oct. 20

digital 11:45am

Mon., Oct. 21

digital 11:45am

Tue., Oct. 22

digital 11:45am

Wed., Oct. 23

digital 11:45am

Cinemark Cedar Park

1335 E. Whitestone, Cedar Park, 800/326-3264

Call theatre for complete list of movies and showtimes.

Thu., Oct. 17

digital 1:10, 4:10

Fri., Oct. 18

digital 10:20am, 4:15, 10:05

Sat., Oct. 19

digital 10:20am, 4:15, 10:05

Sun., Oct. 20

digital 10:20am, 4:15, 10:05

Mon., Oct. 21

digital 1:20, 4:15, 7:10, 10:05

Tue., Oct. 22

digital 1:20, 4:15, 7:10, 10:05

Wed., Oct. 23

digital 1:20, 4:15, 7:10, 10:05

Fri., Oct. 18

digital 10:40am, 1:35, 4:35, 7:35, 10:30

Sat., Oct. 19

digital 10:40am, 1:35, 4:35, 7:35, 10:30

Sun., Oct. 20

digital 10:40am, 1:35, 4:35, 7:35, 10:30

Mon., Oct. 21

digital 10:40am, 1:35, 4:35, 7:35, 10:30

Tue., Oct. 22

digital 10:40am, 1:35, 4:35, 7:35, 10:30

Wed., Oct. 23

digital 10:40am, 1:35, 4:35, 7:35, 10:30

Cinemark Round Rock

4401 N. I-35, Round Rock, 800/326-3264

Cost for 3-D shows is regular ticket price plus a $3.50 premium. Call theatre for complete March 26-28 showtimes.

Thu., Oct. 17

digital 12:55, 3:50, 10:40

City Lights Theatre

420 Wolf Ranch Parkway, Georgetown, 512/868-9922

Thu., Oct. 17

9:45am, 12:45, 3:45, 6:40, 9:40

Fri., Oct. 18

9:45am, 12:50, 3:45, 6:40, 9:40

Sat., Oct. 19

9:45am, 12:50, 3:45, 6:40, 9:40

Sun., Oct. 20

9:45am, 1:25, 4:15, 7:20, 9:40

Mon., Oct. 21

12:50, 3:45, 6:40, 9:40

Tue., Oct. 22

12:50, 3:45, 6:40, 9:40

Wed., Oct. 23

12:50, 4:25, 7:20, 9:40

Flix Brewhouse

2200 S. I-35, Round Rock, 512/244-3549, www.flixbrewhouse.com/round-rock

Thu., Oct. 17

CC 12:30, 4:15, 7:30, 10:45

Gateway Theatre

9700 Stonelake, 512/416-5700

Discounts daily before 6pm. Cost for 3-D shows is regular ticket price plus a $3.50 premium.

Thu., Oct. 17

CC/DVS 12:00, 3:15, 6:20, 9:20

Moviehouse & Eatery

8300 N. FM 620, Bldg. B, 512/501-3520, www.themoviehouse.com/trails/

Thu., Oct. 17

11:30am, 2:45, 6:00, 9:15

Fri., Oct. 18

11:00am, 4:15, 6:00

Sat., Oct. 19

11:00am, 4:15, 6:00

Sun., Oct. 20

11:00am, 4:15, 6:00

Moviehouse & Eatery - Lantana Place

7415 Southwest Parkway, Building 7, 512/572-0770, www.themoviehouse.com/lantana/

Thu., Oct. 17

11:40am, 12:50, 3:45, 7:00

Schulman Theatres Lost Pines 8

1600 Chestnut St, Bastrop, 512/321-0123, www.schulmantheatres.com

Thu., Oct. 17

9:50am, 12:55, 4:00

Sky Cinemas

13201 US-290, 512/457-0700, www.skycinemas.com

Thu., Oct. 17

10:45am, 1:30, 4:15, 7:00, 9:45

Fri., Oct. 18

10:45am, 1:00, 3:45, 6:30, 9:45

Sat., Oct. 19

10:45am, 1:00, 3:45, 6:30, 9:45

Sun., Oct. 20

10:45am, 1:00, 3:45, 6:30, 9:45

Mon., Oct. 21

10:30am, 1:15, 4:00, 6:45, 9:30

Tue., Oct. 22

10:30am, 1:15, 4:00, 6:45, 9:40

Wed., Oct. 23

10:30am, 1:15, 4:00, 6:45

Starplex 12 San Marcos

1250 Wonder World Drive, San Marcos, 512/805-8000

Thu., Oct. 17

12:30, 3:30, 6:30, 9:30

Fri., Oct. 18

12:00, 3:00, 6:00

Sat., Oct. 19

12:00, 3:00, 6:00

Sun., Oct. 20

12:00, 3:00, 6:00

Mon., Oct. 21

12:30, 3:30, 6:30, 9:30

Tue., Oct. 22

12:30, 3:30, 6:30, 9:30

Wed., Oct. 23

12:30, 3:30, 6:30, 9:30

Violet Crown Cinema

434 W. Second, 512/495-9600, www.violetcrowncinema.com

Four-hour parking validation in attached garage with ticket purchase. Reserved seating; bar and cafe on-site.

Thu., Oct. 17

1:50, 4:25, 6:00, 8:35

Fri., Oct. 18

11:00am, 1:30, 4:05, 6:40, 9:15

Sat., Oct. 19

11:00am, 1:30, 4:05, 6:40, 9:15

Sun., Oct. 20

11:00am, 1:30, 4:05, 6:40, 9:15

Mon., Oct. 21

2:10, 4:45, 6:35, 9:10

Tue., Oct. 22

1:40, 4:45, 6:35, 9:10

Wed., Oct. 23

2:10, 4:45, 6:35, 9:10

Westgate 11

4477 S. Lamar, 512/899-2717

Discounts daily before 6pm. Cost for 3-D shows is regular ticket price plus a $3.50 premium.

Thu., Oct. 17

CC/DVS 11:15am, 1:45, 4:30

Fri., Oct. 18

CC/DVS 11:15am, 2:00, 4:45, 7:30, 10:15

Sat., Oct. 19

CC/DVS 11:15am, 2:00, 4:45, 7:30, 10:15

Sun., Oct. 20

CC/DVS 11:15am, 2:00, 4:45, 7:30, 10:15

Mon., Oct. 21

CC/DVS 11:15am, 2:00, 4:45, 7:30, 10:15

Tue., Oct. 22

CC/DVS 11:15am, 2:00, 4:45, 7:30, 10:15

Wed., Oct. 23

CC/DVS 11:15am, 2:00, 4:45, 7:30, 10:15

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KEYWORDS FOR THIS FILM

Downton Abbey, Michael Engler, Maggie Smith, Imelda Staunton, Penelope Wilton, Matthew Goode, Hugh Bonneville, Laura Carmichael, Jim Carter, Brendan Coyle, Michelle Dockery, Kevin Doyle, Allen Leech, Phyllis Logan, Robert James-Collier, Elizabeth McGovern, Joanne Froggatt, Sophie McShera, Lesley Nicol

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