Monday, March 7, 2011

Netflix Movie Monday - 'Downton Abbey'

Hello, everybody!  It's Monday, which means I'm bringing you yet another movie that I found, streaming, on Netflix that piqued my interest in some way.

This week's installment is a chick flick, specially for all my lady friends out there.  PBS's Masterpiece Theater produces this 7 episode miniseries about the residents, both the aristocratic Crawley family and the people who serve them, of Downton Abbey.  The story picks up the morning after the sinking of the Titanic and subsequent deaths of both of the Crawley's heirs, thus throwing the family into confusion as to who will inherit the family title and fortune.  The fantastic Maggie Smith (Professor McGonagall from the Harry Potter movies) plays the crusty and unyielding Dowager Countess of Grantham, who lives in constant conflict with her enormously-wealthy-with-new-money American daughter-in-law.

This comprehensive look at the lives of those living both above and below stairs, is given another layer of complexity due to the changing times in which the story is set.  The residents of Downton Abbey deal with the introduction of electric lights (but not in the kitchen, where, according to Lord Crawley, it would be unnecessary), and a telephone (which nobody knows how to use).  There is friction between the elder and younger of both classes, as they struggle to deal with rapidly changing social and political structures, and tackle such issues as workers' and women's rights.

The characters are deep, and unfold gradually over the 7 episodes, so that by the end you feel that you have become a part of their lives.  The show's costuming is exquisite, the character's clothing changing as time progresses.  At one part, I was reminded strongly of the clothing in one of my favorite movies of all time, 'Anne of Green Gables'.

The one caveat I will give you is to not expect a happy, tidy ending.  This series is more of a snapshot into the lives of a small group of people over time (from the sinking of the Titanic to the eve of WWI), than a cohesive story that has a set beginning, with the events rising to a specific climax, then neatly resolved at the end of the show.


  1. sounds great, I just don't know when I would have time to actually watch it! I too love that time period, loved Anne of Green Gables etc. I refer to your posts when I do need an idea for a movie-if I happen to have time to watch one! (I don't make time!)

  2. I watch during naptime while I crochet :)

  3. saw it and loved it! The characters have many dimensions and the historical context is fasinating