Downton Abbey: A New Era Movie Review

When Downton Abbey premiered more than a decade ago, it looked to be nothing more than your run-of-the-mill BPD (British Period Drama). Who knew that it would become a worldwide cultural phenomenon that still enthralls audiences?

Downton Abbey: A New Era hit theaters a few weeks ago. The film starts with the wedding of Tom Branson (Allen Leech) and Lucy Smith (Tuppence Middleton). After the ceremony, the Dowager Countess (Maggie Smith) announces that she has inherited a previously unknown villa in the south of France. While Robert (Hugh Bonneville), Cora (Elizabeth McGovern), and most of the family travel to see this newest acquisition, Mary (Michelle Dockery) stays behind.

With the roof leaking, she has accepted an offer from a Director to use the Abbey as a film set. Jack Barber (Hugh Dancy) brings the glamour of Hollywood along with his lead actors: Guy Dexter (Dominic West) and Myrna Dalgleish (Laura Haddock).

The best word to describe the experience of watching this film is meta. This movie was made with so much love that it pours out of the screen. Julian Fellows brilliantly balances both the instinctive narrative and the wants of the audience. It’s not an easy task, given the expectations of the fanbase.

I’ve been a fan of the show since the first episode. I was not disappointed. It was everything I wanted and more.

My only qualm is that a little over 2 hours, it is just a tad long. However, Fellows gets a pass, given the number of storylines he has to balance.

Do I recommend it? Absolutely.

Downton Abbey: A New Era is presently in theaters.

Colette Movie Review

It has been said that behind every great man is great woman. But what happens when that woman decides to take the spotlight on her own?

In the new movie, Colette, Colette (Keira Knightley) is a young lady from the countryside who married the much older Willy (Dominic West) around the turn of the 20th century. Willy earns his living as a writer, but does not do the writing himself. He has a team of writers who work under him. Soon after taking their vows, Colette join her husband’s writing team. Her books become the most popular fiction of the day. But while Willy gets the acclaim, Colette remains in the shadows. That is, until she decides to not only publicize the truth of the authorship of the book and while doing so, flouts gender norms.

Based on the true story of Colette, whose full name was Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette, this movie is not the typical BPD (British Period Drama). It resonates with modern audiences because it still speaks to us today. Questions in regards to gender norms, gender identities, sexual identities, a woman fighting for her voice to be heard are still being asked in 2018.

I recommend it.

Colette is currently in theaters. 

Early Throwback Thursday Post-The Hour (2011-2013)

From the perspective of someone watching the news at home on the television, it seems like everything is smooth sailing. But like everything in life once the curtain is pulled back, what appears to be smooth sailing is actually rough waters.

The Hour aired for two seasons on BBC America. Starring Romola Garai, Ben Whishaw and Dominic West, The Hour was a behind the scenes look at a 1950’s news program in Britain. Integrating the chaos of running a daily news program with the chaos of the character’s private lives, The Hour was a fascinating drama that captivated viewers. Unfortunately, like many shows who are not given the chance to last, The Hour was only on the air for two years. Led by show-runner Abi Morgan (whose film credits include Shame and Suffragette), The Hour had potential, but the network did not see it that way.

I really enjoyed this show. It had great writing, great acting and contained a cast of British actors that Austen fans and fans of British drama will easily recognize.

I recommend it.

Flashback Friday-The Forgotten (2004)

There is no stronger love than a mother for her child.

In the 2004 movie, The Forgotten, Telly (Julianne Moore) believes that her son died in a plane accident. She wakes up some months later to find that the only evidence of her son’s life is her memories. It is as if she never had any children. Her husband, Jim (Anthony Edwards) and her psychiatrist, Dr. Munce (Gary Sinise) start to believe that Telly is seeing things.

The only person who believes Telly is Ash (Dominic West), after Telly convinces him that he had a daughter who he doesn’t remember. Telly and Ash must find a way to prove that their children existed and fight against the forces that are wiping away their memories.

Within the mashup of the Science Fiction/Mystery genre, it’s not a bad film. What I remember liking about this film and what held my interest as an audience member is that Telly is so convinced that she had a son, that she goes nearly to the ends of the earth to provide that he existed.

I recommend it.

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