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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
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
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 & Scariness
A main character says they have an illness and don't have long to live; two characters cry together at the news.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
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.
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One "damn" and a few uses of "God." Police officers call a group of men dancing together "dirty perverts."
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Products & Purchases
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.
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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 Bonneville, Elizabeth McGovern, Michelle Dockery, Maggie Smith, and all of the other familiar Downton faces return for the film. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
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.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.