I truly enjoyed the television show, but I never actually finished it. I’m glad I decided to just dive straight into the film, though! It was easy to keep up with everyone despite having not seen the final seasons and the film is decidedly an uplifting one. [semi spoilers from here]
The story picks up at the end of the 1920s, with Downton Abbey greatly changed from what it once was. The Crawley family have endured their share of losses, as have their staff, but there’s a great energy amongst the household’s inhabitants, with no real squabbles going on. I preferred that this one wasn’t about in-house fighting. I liked everyone being on the same team. That was so nice to see.
The drama in this film centres upon the arrival of the queen to the abbey and the tensions between the two staffs. As the household staff confront the overbearing new arrivals from the queen’s household who won’t let them do their jobs, a game ensues, with the Downton staff prevailing in their quest to serve the royal family. At the same time, Tom Branson, who is raising his daughter at Downton after her late mother’s passing, gets embroiled in a plot with a mysterious man; there’s also a side story with Thomas, now head butler and far more mature than he was when he was first introduced, finally getting some happiness! His storyline as a gay man in 1920s England was something I really appreciated them exploring, and his encounters with Richard were especially wonderful. I was afraid it was going to end depressingly and I’m so glad that it didn’t.
Everything wraps up quite nicely at the end of the film. There’s no extra drama or chaos. And I definitely feel like I want to go back and rewatch the show now, because I want to catch up with all the characters and see where some of them came into the storyline. Now that I know how it ends, I’ll feel less stressed!