While we were in Zwolle we went to see Downton Abbey, the movie, at the luxurious new theater. As you may have already noted, the movie added to the story but did not cut any new paths. In fact it is a reinforcement of the absurdities caused by the Englishclass system. Among the lesson of the superb television series: you can not marry outside your class, you can not rise from lowly origins, you can not have sex outside of wedlock. Both of these norms were breached, causing great consternation. The absurdity was exposed in another way in the movie.
Spoiler alert! I am about to share the main plot.
The movie starts with a notice from the royal family (as a Republican in the English sense, I do not capitalize ‘royal’) advising of a pending visit. This was not a request but never mind that for now. The family and staff burst into action. The family – get those duds ready to show off. The staff: get the meat, veg and wine ordered. As the visit nears, word comes that the royals will be bringing their own servants. These arrive several days in advance with their noses in the air, ordering the family’s staff to simply stay out of the way. The staff is deeply offended, as to them serving the king was to be the highlight of their lives.
So incensed at losing the opportunity to put meat on a plate and pour a glass of wine for over-indulged (if genteel) guests who by this time were basically figureheads whose job it was to be spoiled and cut ribbons that the staff hatched a plot to displace the royal (pain in the ass) servants. Sleeping droughts, locked doors in remote bedrooms and the like were all painstakingly put in place so staff could cook a goose and carry it upstairs on a platter set before celebrities who were born into the position, not there by merit.
Nonetheless this is a fine farewell to the series, and I fear to the acting career of Maggie Smith, one of the finest actresses to ever grace the stage. My ode to her: