The movie. It has finally arrived. After the huge success of the television series on PBS Masterpiece, this movie is the continuation of the story of Lord Grantham and family…

Story: It picks up from where the television series left off. Julian Fellowes, Gareth Neame and Liz Turbridge don’t need any accolades for their ability to write compelling scripts. They can do it. However, being creative is the challenge for every writer.

The choice to continue the Downton story with a visit from the King and Queen of England is… English to say the least. As an American – even a world traveling American – It was interesting to see how the creators use the English reverence for the monarchy as a potential draw for everyone.

Most of the story hinges on the visit. Less of the story reveals more about he Crawley family. BUT… there are two blossoming love stories that suggest future Downton Abbey movies could go deeper.

Performances: The standout performance is Anna, Lady Mary’s Lady-in-waiting. She exudes a level of confidence that she had lost after the rape. She manages to rally the entire Downton servant staff into action and successfully re-claim their turf.

The other performance of note is Tom Branson. Of all of the Downton characters, his character gets the most attention and story reveal. Love story, crusader, family man… his character is always ripe with potential stories.

Visual: This is where the English will be in their glory. As in the television series, no detail is spared in creating the look of Downton Abbey. It looks like 1927. They make all of the requisite references to 1927. It looks every bit the English countryside.

Costumes, place settings, King and Queen. Tea. All they need to complete the picture is a pub with fish and chips or bangers and mash. Maybe next movie we’ll get more of that real English life..

Rating: B-. One can never really give Downton Abbey anything less than that. It’s just a great story on its face. But, more about the Crawley family and the estate and life in the English countryside is what will likely keep this franchise going for many, many movies to come.

But feel free to see this one on demand…