Downton Abbey

Movie review by
Joyce Slaton, Common Sense Media
Downton Abbey Movie Poster Image
 Parents recommendPopular with kids
Gorgeous drama will thrill longtime fans of the show.
  • PG
  • 2019
  • 122 minutes

Parents say

age 12+
Based on 20 reviews

Kids say

age 10+
Based on 11 reviews

We think this movie stands out for:

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

Themes of teamwork, perseverance are clear in how staff and family members throw themselves fully into challenge of smooth royal visit (viewers can draw their own conclusions about whether royal characters are worthy of such expense and consideration). Lots of talk about people's "place" and behaviors expected of them at various socioeconomic stations (filmmakers' sympathies are clearly with those who treat each other kindly, whether rich or poor). 

Positive Role Models & Representations

Characters have flaws, but most are well meaning; most have changed since Downton began and continue to change during  movie, mellowing and/or becoming more open-minded. Lord Grantham is a good father, good caretaker of his estate/staff; Lady Mary and Countess Violet are haughty but care deeply about those who depend on them. Most of the servants take pride in their work and the family they work for, except for a few who work hard to cause chaos and pit their employers against each other. Mary and Edith have a tense relationship, but the open cruelty of the show has faded.

Violence

A main character says they have an illness and don't have long to live; two characters cry together at the news. 

Sex

Passionate, clothed kissing leads to implied sex. A couple has a sweet kiss and dances together before agreeing they'll write to each other (implication is that they'll have a long-distance relationship). Men kiss and dance together in a vintage gay bar in a warehouse. Married couples talk about pregnancy and childbirth.

Language

One "damn" and a few uses of "God." Police officers call a group of men dancing together "dirty perverts." 

Consumerism

The trappings of wealth are everywhere at Downton, from a large staff of servants to custom-fitted couture clothing, elaborate food, and huge parties.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Characters drink wine and champagne at gatherings and parties; no one acts drunk. In one subplot, a character is given a "double dose" of a "sleeping draught" to get him out of the way temporarily; this potentially deadly violation causes no repercussions. 

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Downton Abbey continues the story of the popular TV series; it has the same characters, creators, tone, and style as the series. Violence and sex are mild -- about as racy as it gets is a hot same-sex kiss after police raid a vintage underground gay bar, and there are no scenes in which beloved characters die or do battle. But themes are still adult: sex, scandal, social position, etc. Downton's nobles still live in rarefied finery, and the royal family even more so; much drama is mined from the potential for social gaffes during a high-profile event and from characters who act in ways not "suitable" for their "place." Characters drink at dinners and parties; no one acts drunk, but in one subplot, a character is given a double dose of a "sleeping draught," which causes no repercussions. Language is limited to a scene in which police officers call gay men "dirty perverts." Themes of teamwork and perseverance are clear from the way both servants and family members pull together for the royal visit, and characters who were formerly cruel to each other are now merely snippy. Hugh BonnevilleElizabeth McGovernMichelle DockeryMaggie Smith, and all of the other familiar Downton faces return for the film.

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User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent of a 11 and 14-year-old Written bynoejacks September 22, 2019

Worth the Long Wait & Great for Families!

Well worth the long wait! We attended as a family with our sons (ages almost 12 and 14). Our older had watched some of the original series with us while our you... Continue reading
Adult Written byAngi365 September 18, 2019

Really good movie

Awesome cast and amazing LGBT messages
Teen, 13 years old Written byPrimroseEverdeen October 5, 2019

Good movie, but a bit confusing.

It seemed like a good movie but it was so confusing. I hadn't seen anything but a trailer of this show/movie before seeing this movie in the theaters whic... Continue reading
Teen, 15 years old Written byBookworm15 September 21, 2019
This movie was very funny and enjoyable. I do have to say that the show is better. The highlight of the film though was Molesley. He was just hilarious. Thomas... Continue reading

What's the story?

Set two years after the series wrapped up, DOWNTON ABBEY finds the Crawley family and their servants in fine form. It's almost a decade after the Great War ended and still a generation before World War II will begin. Lord and Lady Grantham (Hugh Bonneville and Elizabeth McGovern) are enjoying this peaceful period when a letter throws the estate into high tension: King George V (Simon Jones) and Queen Mary (Geraldine James) plan to make a one-night visit to Downton. Now the entire Crawley family -- including Lady Mary (Michelle Dockery), Lady Edith (Laura Carmichael), and Countess Violet (Maggie Smith) -- must pull together to make the visit a success. Downstairs, the servants labor mightily under the direction of Anna (Joanne Froggatt), Carson (Jim Carter), and Thomas Barrow (Robert James-Collier) to do the same. 

Is it any good?

Sumptuous and lovely, this film is a fitting capper to the hugely popular series; it will positively thrill longtime fans. All the flowers are in the bouquet. There are tiaras, silver patch boxes, Art Deco beaded dresses, and lots of long, loving shots of vintage motorcars tootling down country lanes cut through rolling green lawns. The servants wear the same uniforms; the nobles swan around in silk and fur; about the only change is that more folks have bobbed hair and the kids are a little bigger. In short, Downton Abbey the film feels pretty much exactly like a two-hour episode of Downton Abbey the TV show, and fans won't mind one bit. 

The king and queen's arrival throws Downton into a tizzy, and -- as usual -- there are plenty of upstairs-downstairs subplots thrown in: The servants are ticked off about the high-handedness of the king and queen's staff, a strange figure is prowling around asking suspicious questions about the royal visit, the queen's lady-in-waiting (Imelda Staunton) has a secret that causes complications with an inheritance. In typical Downton style, the chief fallout is a bunch of concerned conversations in ornate drawing rooms; it all melts away as lightly as a feather on a vintage cloche, while the drama gets back to what it really does best: serving up period eye candy and giving the deliciously tart (as always) Smith all the choicest lines. May Downton ever reign. 

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how similar Downton Abbey the movie is to Downton Abbey the TV series. How is the film's universe expanded? Movies tend to be more expensively made than TV shows. What scenes did you notice that were likely costly to film? How were they more elaborate than scenes from the TV show? 

  • Compare the number of servants in this film to the number of nobles and royals. How many people had to labor for noble/royal characters to live lives of ease? What things did the upper-crust characters have done for them that average people do for themselves? 

  • Talk about Downton Abbey's time period. How were things changing for England and the world when the show first began? How did technology change life for both the upper and servant classes? How did the times change as the show went on, and then during the time period when the movie is set? 

  • How do the characters in Downton Abbey show perseverance and teamwork? Why are these important character strengths?

  • How could you find out more about the historical events that Downton refers to or takes part in? How accurate do you think the movie is, from a historical perspective?

Movie details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love history

Character Strengths

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