Tag Archives: brendan coyle

DOWNTON ABBEY (2019) – My rating: 10/10

Downton Abbey is a British period drama that represents the continuation of the BBC television series of the same name. The film is directed by Michael Engler and written by Julian Fellowes, who is also the creator and executive producer of the television series. Much of the original cast has returned as they perform the first Downton Abbey movie.  An official state visit by the British Monarchy to Downton Abbey upsets the entire staff and their way of life, as they bend over backward to please the King and  Queen of England. I found Downey Abbey to be one of the year’s best movie and I absolutely loved it.

****  SPOILERS BELOW  ****

Downton Abbey begins in 1927 when Robert Crawley (Hugh Bonneville), the Earl of Grantham, receives a letter from Buckingham Palace announcing that King George V (Simon Jones) and Queen Mary (Geraldine James) are coming to Downton Abbey as part of a royal tour through the country. Robert’s daughter, Lady Mary Talbot (Michelle Dockery) and son-in-law, Tom Branson (Allen Leech) are the first to learn of the royal visit, which leads to Drama 1: The Countess of Grantham, Violet Crawley, Dowager  (Maggie Smith), is perturbed that Queen Mary’s lady-in-waiting, Lady Maud Bagshaw (Imelda Staunton), will also be coming to Downton with the royal family. Lady Maud is Robert’s cousin and the two families have fallen out over Lady Maud choosing her personal maid, Lucy Smith (Tuppence Middleton) as her heir over Robert.  Drama 2: Occurs when the royal staff arrives, which includes the Royal Butler, Mr. Wilson (David Haig), the Queen’s Royal Housemaid, Mrs. Webb (Richenda Carey),  the snooty Royal Chef, Monsieur Courbet (Philippe Spall) and the King’s Royal Dresser, Richard Ellis (Max Brown) — the Downton staff is affronted by their extreme arrogance. Drama 3: Occurs when Lady Mary believes that Thomas Barrow (Robert James-Collier), Downton Abbey’s butler, will fall short for the royal occasion, so she asks Charles Carson (Jim Carter), Downton’s retired butler, to temporarily resume his former duties, upsetting Barrow. Drama 4: The plumber, Mr. Sellick (James Cartwright) who arrives to repair the broken boiler flirts with Daisy Mason (Sophie McShera), Downton’s assistant cook, upsetting her fiancé, footman Andy Parker (Michael  C. Fox). Drama 5: A man calling himself Major Chetwode (Stephen Campbell Moore), arrives in Downton village. He seeks out Tom, who suspects he is a royal detective involved with security for the royal visit. Lady Mary sees Tom and Major Chetwode leaving a pub together.  Assuming something’s not quite right, she follows them. Drama 6: The king informs the Marchioness of Hexham’s, Edith Pelham (Laura Carmichael), husband, Bertie Pelham (Harry Hadden-Paton), the 7th Marquess of Hexham, that he is to accompany the Prince of Wales on a three-month tour of Africa. This is a problem for Edith who is pleased for Bertie but also upset because she needs him home at the time of the tour. Drama 7: Anna Bates (Joanne Froggatt) discovers that one of the royal staff, Miss Lawton (Susan Lynch) has been stealing from Downton Abbey. She agrees to say nothing provided Lawton returns the stolen items and remakes a ballgown for Lady Edith after the wrong size garment was delivered to her. Drama 8: Downstairs, Anna and John Bates (Brendan Coyle) have a plan to retake the household and restore Downton’s honor. The staff agrees. Drama 9: Thomas Barrow meets Chris Webster (Perry Fitzpatrick), who invites him to a club. Webster takes Barrow to a secret nightclub where the patrons are mostly men dancing together. The police storm the club, arresting everyone. Mr. Ellis of the royal staff is watching from across the street and sees the whole incident. Drama 10: At dinner, the king is impressed by the revised menu and praises his chef’s culinary skills, however, footmen, Mr. Joseph Molesley (Kevin Doyle) is quick to defend Downton and blurts out that the head cook, Mrs. Beryl Patmore (Lesley Nicol) prepared the dinner and that the Downton staff are the ones serving it. Everyone is stunned by Mr. Molesley speaking to the king without permission. Robert apologizes for Molesley’s outburst, but the queen praises Mrs. Beryl Patmore’s cooking and tells the Countess of Grantham, Lady Cora (Elizabeth McGovern) that they are accustomed to people behaving strangely around them.

Meanwhile, Henry Talbot (Matthew Goode), Lady Mary’s husband, arrives home in time to accompany the family to the ball at Harewood. As a self-appointed peacemaker, Lady Isobel Merton (Penelope Wilton) makes an important discovery that should settle an age-old feud. Mr. Carson and his wife, Mrs. Elsie Hughes Carson (Phyllis Logan) discuss Downton Abbey’s future. Carson asserts it will stand for another hundred years with the Crawley family still living in it.

As a fan of the popular BBC TV series, I was happy to see Downton Abbey come to the big screen, despite the long wait of three years since it ended on TV.  From the moment I heard the familiar Downton Abbey music while entering the movie theater, my heart started jumping for joy.  From what I could see of the trailer, the whole cast had reassembled once again to excite us with the ups and downs of a British hierarchy family in the late 1920s.  I learned so much about the culture just watching through-out the 6 seasons that Downton Abbey aired.  The movie didn’t slack on the heartfelt comings and goings of the household.  I found the movie generated much enjoyment with just the right touch of drama and secrets, as well as disappointments.  Downton Abbey left me with hopes of seeing a second movie, but without one beloved character, who I will not disclose at this time.  Make no mistake, there is a lot more story to be told.  I’m trying not to spoil all the surprises or all of the twist and turns this movie has I stored for you. Aside from my love of period pieces, I deem Downton Abbey as one of the better movies of 2019.  It opened with a $31M box office and is slated to pull in much more.  I highly recommend it to all ages — Downton Abbey is just simply delightful.  Check It Out!

 

MARY QUEEN OF SCOTS (2018) – My rating: 7.5/10

Mary Queen of Scots is a historical drama directed by Josie Rourke and written by Beau Willimon, based on John Guy’s biography, Queen of Scots: The True Life of Mary Stuart. This film is a period piece and takes place in the 1500s chronicling the 1569 conflict between Mary of Scotland and Elizabeth of England. It could be considered a tragedy based on a true story but historically incorrect which caused some adverse reviews from critics. However it’s a worth while film that I have mixed feelings about.

In 1561, nineteen-year-old Mary (Saoirse Ronan), Catholic Queen of Scotland, returns to her home country from France following the death of her husband, Francis II of France, to take up her throne. She is received by her half brother, the Earl of Moray (James McArdle). In neighboring England, her cousin, twenty-eight-year-old Elizabeth (Margot Robbie) is the Protestant Queen of England. She is unmarried, childless, and threatened by Mary’s potential claim to her throne. Mary soon clashes with the cleric John Knox (David Tennant) and dismisses him from her court. Knox is a protestant and leader of the Scottish Reformation and perceives Mary to be a danger to the kingdom’s Protestant supremacy.

Here we have two queens, which are also cousins, that are jealous of each other. One wants to be married with children so there’s an heir to the throne and the other never wants to be married or have children but is in love with her counselor, Robert Dudley (Joe Alwyn). Elizabeth is all about the business of running the country while Mary tries to have both, a family and run a country. The two queens play a game of chicken with each other in hopes one will yield. Mary admits she married the wrong man the first time around and has now repeated history with a new husband, Henry Stuart: Lord Darnley (Jack Lowden) who is atrocious [according to this film) in every way. Upon Darnley marrying Mary, she discovers him in bed with her friend and private secretary, David Rizzio (Ismael Cruz Córdova) the following morning. Faced with insurgency and infidelity, Mary decides to quash the rebel forces but spares both Rizzio and Moray. She demands Darnley give her a child. When a child is conceived, Mary declares that the child is the “heir to Scotland and England” — which deeply offends the English.

Of course there is so much more to this intriguing story but I must stop here, as not to give it away. What becomes of Mary, her husbands and her ploy to reign over England, Scotland and Ireland. I found Mary Queen of Scots extremely interesting and well acted. There is so much to take in — everything from adultery to beheadings. History dictates a slightly different version and the critics have picked up on the changes thus giving the film a scolding and deflated ratings. If you like period pieces, Check It Out!

[Queen of Scots is Oscar Nominated for Best Costume Design and Best makeup and Hairstyling]