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MOVIE REVIEW

Downton Abbey

also known as “Dauntonas abatija,” “Dauntono abatija,” “Panství Downton,” “Ο Πύργος του Downton,” «Аббатство Даунтон», «Имението Даунтъ»
MPAA Rating: PG-Rating (MPAA) for thematic elements, some suggestive material, and language.

Reviewed by: Charity Bishop
CONTRIBUTOR

Offensive
Moviemaking Quality:

Primary Audience:
• Preteens • Family • Teens • Young-Adults • Adults
Genre:
Drama
Length:
2 hr. 2 min.
Year of Release:
2019
USA Release:
September 20, 2019 (wide—3,050 theaters)
DVD: December 17, 2019
Copyright, Focus Features click photos to ENLARGE Copyright, Focus Features Copyright, Focus Features
Relevant Issues
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ROYALTY of the Bible: kings / queens / princes

Families that fall out of friendship due to inheritance issues

Fear of being cheated out of rightful inheritance

Arrogance versus humility

Jealousy

Fear of humiliation

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Assassination/murder


Wife upset at her intolerable husband, but decides to remain faithful

What does the Bible say about marriage? Answer


What does Scripture say about STEALING? Answer

Copyright, Focus Features

Insertion of male homosexuality and a Gay nightclub into this film

What about Gays needs to change? AnswerIt may not be what you think.

GAY—What’s wrong with being Gay? AnswerHomosexual behavior versus the Bible: Are people born Gay? Does homosexuality harm anyone? Is it anyone’s business? Are homosexual and heterosexual relationships equally valid?


Child born out of wedlock—and a parent’s duty

Copyright, Focus Features Copyright, Focus Features Copyright, Focus Features Copyright, Focus Features
Featuring: Hugh BonnevilleRobert Crawley, Earl of Grantham
Elizabeth McGovernCora Crawley, Countess of Grantham
Michelle DockeryLady Mary Crawley
Laura CarmichaelLady Edith Crawley / Lady Edith Pelham, the Marchioness of Hexham
Harry Hadden-PatonHerbert “Bertie” Pelham, the 7th Marquess of Hexham
Maggie SmithViolet Crawley, Dowager Countess of Grantham, mother of Robert
Penelope WiltonIsobel Grey, Baroness Merton
Imelda StauntonLady Maud Bagshaw, Queen Mary's lady-in-waiting and Robert Crawley’s cousin
Allen LeechTom Branson
Jim CarterCharles Carson
Robert James-CollierMr. Thomas Barrow, the butler
Matthew GoodeHenry Talbot
Tuppence MiddletonLucy Smith, Lady Bagshaw’s maid
Phyllis LoganMrs. Elsie Hughes
Raquel CassidyPhyllis Baxter
Simon JonesKing George V
Geraldine JamesQueen Mary
Kate PhillipsPrincess Mary, Viscountess Lascelless
David HaigMr. Wilson, the King’s butler
Max BrownRichard Ellis, the King’s Royal Dresser
Brendan CoyleJohn Bates
Joanne FroggattAnna Bates
Lesley NicolMrs. Beryl Patmore
Sophie McSheraMrs. Daisy Mason
See all »
Director: Michael Engler
Producer: Carnival Film and Television [Great Britain]
Focus Features
See all »
Distributor: Distributor: Focus Features. Trademark logo.
Focus Features
Copyright, Focus Features

“Downton Abbey” is a treat for long-time fans, with the same sparkling wit, dazzling costumes, and scheming above and below stairs that held us captive for six seasons of the internationally successful television series.

The letter from Buckingham Palace causes quite a stir when it arrives. The king and queen wish to visit Downton on one of their country trips. Lord and Lady Grantham (Hugh Bonneville and Elizabeth McGovern) feel honored. Their eldest daughter, Lady Mary (Michelle Dockery), is a little apprehensive, since their former-footman-turned butler Thomas Barrow (Robert James-Collier) has never handled a royal visit. The downstairs staff, ranging from the formidable housekeeper Mrs. Hughes (Phyllis Logan) to the ambitious anti-royalist cook Daisy (Sophie McShera) are in a tizzy about what to fix the monarchy for dinner. And everyone is a tad bit worried what their resident Irish Republican, Tom Branson (Allen Leech), might do, given his strong anti-monarchist sentiments.

Overwhelmed with concerns about everything running in tiptop shape, Lady Mary elicits the help of the family’s retired butler, Mr. Carson (Jim Carter) to manage the household. But he gets more than he bargained for once the royal staff arrives. Upstairs, Lady Edith (Laura Carmichael) lets her husband in on a secret, and a series of missing household treasures suggest a thief has come to the house. Then there’s Daisy’s reluctance to get married, an inconvenient boiler that refuses to give them any hot water, and Lady Violet’s (Maggie Smith) determination to get to the bottom of a family mystery, with the aid of her often-rival, Isabel (Penelope Wilton).

Fans know what they are in for—many characters and subplots, razor-sharp witty exchanges between frienemies Violet and Isobel, Mary’s touching relationship with Mr. Carson… and even a touch of blackmail. The result is a glittering, nostalgic return to everyone’s favorite estate. This is a world where an ill-fitting dress is a disaster. It offers plenty of happy endings and even a few tears. It introduces new love stories and resolves older ones. And it looks gorgeous doing it. Downton Abbey looms on the big screen in a cinematic way, and the lush 20’s costumes, diamond tiaras, and green grounds abound with spectacle.

The offensive content is consistent with the original series. There is little violence (a man and woman wrestle a gun away from a terrorist) and only minor language (a servant uses “bloody” and is reprimanded because “there are ladies present;” once or twice, characters say “Oh, my God!”), but the film dwells on Thomas’ homosexuality toward the end. Men kiss and dance in a Gay club. Thomas finds out a friend is Gay, and they part with a kiss.

GAY—What’s wrong with being Gay? AnswerHomosexual behavior versus the Bible: Are people born Gay? Does homosexuality harm anyone? Is it anyone’s business? Are homosexual and heterosexual relationships equally valid?

What about Gays needs to change? AnswerIt may not be what you think.

Read stories about those who have struggled with homosexuality

A woman admits to a past adulterous affair and having borne a child out of wedlock. She regrets the moral conventions of the time forced her to hide it, and that she did not have enough courage to defy her father and marry her lover.

ADULTERY and FORNICATION in the Bible

SEXUAL LUST outside of marriage—Why does God strongly warn us about this? Answer

PURITY—Should I save sex for marriage? Answer

Edith appears several times in (by modern standards, rather modest) under garments. The servants get even with the pretentious royal staff through lies, subterfuge, and blackmail. Because the staff is so intolerable, the audience cheers for them. Even the pillar of moral authority, Mr. Carson, admits “they deserved it.” It suggests that the end justifies the means.

From a purely cinematic perspective, there is not much plot. Because it’s a film instead of the usual ten episodes, there is no character development, and it relies heavily on the assumption you know all these people. Most of them get little to do, since the script has no time to flesh out more than few of them. It can be a little convoluted as it tries to explain the British hierarchy… but it really doesn’t matter. All you need to know is, the king’s butler outranks Mr. Carson and nobody likes it. Maggie Smith steals most of the scenes she appears in, but the rest of the cast hold their own, and one special, touching scene between Mary and her grandmother brought a lump to my throat.

One of the stables of the series was the ongoing cruel rivalry between Edith and Mary. I’m delighted to say they have finally grown out of their childish competitiveness and are now treating each other with respect.

It’s a treat to see these characters on the big screen. I had a wonderful time, and from the reactions of the (mostly female) audience, so did everyone else.

  • Sex: Moderate—but includes Gay scenes and discussion of adultery
  • Violence: Minor
  • Profane language: Minor
  • Vulgar/Crude language: Minor
  • Nudity: None
  • Occult: None

See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.


Viewer CommentsSend your comments
Comments below:
Positive
Positive—I've been looking forward to this for a long time and I really enjoyed it. There was a very good turnout on opening night and it was mostly an older crowd with probably about ⅓ men and ⅔ women. Those who have followed the series will most appreciate it but it is also a good stand-alone story as well. The acting is excellent as usual and Jullian Fellowes does not disappoint as he is a brilliant writer. Maggie Smith has her great one-liners which is a trademark of the series. There are two separate romances for the two Thomas-es: Tom and Thomas. All the cast/characters who were present at the end of the series are in the movie, although some people have said they were disappointed to not see Rose. There is the addition of a few new characters such as Imelda Staunton, a talented actress who is Jim Carter's wife in real-life, and plays the cousin. People may remember her role in the famous movie “Sense & Sensibility.”

Positive content includes the development of positive relationships among the family members, such as how Edith and her husband work through some difficulties at the beginning of their marriage. Lord Grantham asks Violet to pray for them. The subtle humour is also tasteful and funny.

Negative content which is disappointing and many Christians will find very offensive: Throughout the series Fellowes has been developing Thomas' character and his journey as a Gay man trying to find himself in the 20's and therefore sending a message to viewers. He's now the butler, although Carson works for him this time during the royal visit. They show him going to a Gay bar and also developing a relationship with another man, showing a passionate kiss between them. Again he is presented as confused and trying to find himself. Although the presentation was probably realistic in how Gay life was for people in that time in history, and I suppose it gives a window what it is like for many people in our society, I found it hard to watch. There is a comment by Thomas that perhaps someday people will understand things they way they do (i.e. how it is to be Gay and the implication that it is an okay lifestyle).

There was very little inappropriate language in the film, although the word “bloody” was used. As a British friend explained to me, it is swearing on Jesus' blood so it is the same as using Christ's name in vain, although in some ways even worse.

The movie has been well received by secular reviewers. It's a good story and shows the continued journey of the Crawley family in a very creative and uplifting way, with the exception of the offensive content mentioned. It leaves you wanting more and the story line certainly left it open for a sequel!
My Ratings: Moral rating: Average / Moviemaking quality: 4½
Kathy Pj, age 59 (Canada)
Negative
Negative—I was totally enjoying this movie until three quarters of the way through it and then it completely changed. Once again a perfectly good story line is ruined with the Gay agenda. I never would have attended this movie had I known and will be warning all my friends. So sad!
My Ratings: Moral rating: Extremely Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 5
Cheryl, age 60 (USA)
Negative—It turned out to be a very upsetting movie after learning homosexuality was forced in your faced when the movie was used in indoctrinating the homosexual agenda. I felt dirty and will not even allow my spirit to be tainted by watching this again or even the earlier version, knowing now it leads one into the homosexual agenda. They might as well fly the Gay flag in Downton Abbey Castle. If you respect God, do not watch this movie.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Extremely Offensive / Moviemaking quality: ½
Michael, age 61 (USA)
Negative—I went to see “Downton…” having not watched the series, but it has a PG-rating, so for me it was safe enough to watch.

Out of nowhere came the men dancing. I’ve watched several period dramas in the past so was not prepared for this and my the time my brain had figured out what was going on, I was watching men flirting with one another. Before the end two men kissing. Honestly I left the movie reeling having my senses assaulted, having no warning. These are not scenes I want to get used to. Feeling of anger at the obvious agenda of the Gay rights brigade permiating every sphere of media. These days there seems to be no escape… I wasn’t just angry but really upset, crying actually. I don’t watch horror movies or thrillers… scenes like these are on the same scale.

And for parents who don’t want their children to see this—if I as a Christian adult am distressed by the assault on my spirit—PG is definitely the wrong rating, but then again that’s part of the agenda to normalise it in the eyes of society.

The rest of the movie was good, but had I have known of the Gay content I wouldn’t have went to see it. Deceived.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Very Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 4
Margaret, age 49 (United Kingdom)
Negative—With no forewarnings in the trailers, mainstream reviews or movie posters about the heavy promotion of ‘homosexuality as normal and acceptable,’ I was taken completely by surprise by the scene of two men mouth-kissing near the end of Downton Abbey. Nor was I alone in my shock, as many other audience members audibly gasped at the surprise insertion of homosexual depiction in an otherwise staid, if often nasty, film.

Equally surprising have been the generally favorable reviews of the production quality of this film. It’s nothing special.

I regard production quality in any film that clearly advocates amorality and deviant sexuality as nothing more than propaganda value.

After the passionate homosexual kiss, the two men muse, before reluctantly parting, on how someday perhaps 50 years from then (that would be today) their homosexuality can be open and accepted by all.

This comment frames the reason for the making of this film. The story, the characters, the snippy repartee, the scenery and costumes are props to prime the viewer for shock, confusion and, ultimately, acceptance of the Gay agenda being promoted by stealth to moviegoers.

Movies like this should be required to explicitly warn potential viewers about its homosexual agenda. As it is, “Downton Abbey” is a homosexual filmic ambush, objectionable on every level of decency, and that is clearly the production intent.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Extremely Offensive / Moviemaking quality: ½
Lodi Silverado, age Adult (USA)
Comments from non-viewers
Negative—I have not seen the movie “Downton Abbey, ” nor do I plan to. I remember watching the first couple of episodes of the show several years ago, and, frankly, I found it to be super boring. I dislike movies and shows where everyone just sits down and talks, shows and movies are visual mediums that can say a thousand words with one glance, however that is more of just my taste that other Christians, and I can disagree on in good conscience and saving faith.

What turns my disinterest into disdain for the franchise is the Gay storyline and how homosexuality is portrayed as a coming-of-age adventure. It was bad enough that the Power Rangers movie a couple of years ago turned Trini into a semi-closeted lesbian.

To the Christians who see this movie, please use the opportunity to witness to homosexuals and further God’s Kingdom. To the cast and crew of this movie, please repent and turn to Jesus if you have not done so already.
Peter, age 29

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