Downton Abbey ★★★

"What piffle you talk." -Maud Bagshaw

I am a huge fan of Gosford Park, also written by Julian Fellowes. While not tuning in for the Downton Abbey series, I decided to check out the movie.

I didn't feel for most of the characters, who we only really caught glimpses of. The movie only began to come alive when Maggie Smith appeared on screen. She plays Violet Crawley, a matriarch. Mike Leigh regular Imelda Staunton also had an interesting role as Maud Bagshaw offset by Penelope Wilton's character, Isobel Merton, who acted as a go-between for her with Violet Crawley.

One of the most eye-roll worthy subplots was between servant Andy (Michael Fox) and his love interest Daisy (Sophie McShera). It took a very traditional and predictable route, while missing some context in order to keep me interested in the outcome of these characters.

Mostly miscast (and this is meant somewhat humorously) is Kevin Doyle in the role of the starstruck Mr. Molesley. Richard E. Grant was obviously born to play this role as evidenced by his behavior during this past Oscar Week. I thought of Grant the whole time and how he was born to play this part.

Julian Fellowes' script balances different social classes: the "help", the owners of Downton Abbey, the royalty, and the royalty's servants as well. Everyone involved has their separate struggle. That is portrayed well, but the humor was often dry. It so depends, because I often like British humor. Anyhow, this added up to a slightly above average film that didn't "wow" me greatly.

Vegan alert:
-Feather in hat
-Obscene amount of eggs used
-Fur collar
-Antlers on the wall
-Horseback riding

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