For this second feature, writer Julian Fellowes and Director Simon Curtis focus their mite on the 1930s, with The Great Depression, wars, and modernizations just around the corner. That’s why it’s titled ‘A New Era’ I suppose
The fairly successful (not so in India) 2019 introductory feature spawned from one of the most talked-about shows in the US and UK, breeds a sequel that takes us for a ride alongside the aristocratic Crawley family and their retinue of domestics, to the South of France in order to uncover the secrets behind a surprise bequest of a villa inherited by the dowager countess. The first feature had the Crawley family and Downton staff all excited and in a tizzy over a royal visit from the King and Queen of Great Britain. For this second feature, writer Julian Fellowes and Director Simon Curtis focus their mite on the 1930s, with The Great Depression, wars, and modernizations just around the corner. That’s why it’s titled ‘A New Era’ I suppose.
Film director Jack Barber (Hugh Dancy) and stars Guy Dexter (Dominic West) and Myrna Dalgleish (Laura Haddock) are in the throes of making a glamorous romantic drama and are willing to pay good money for the grand house they badly need for the shoot. Violet Crawley, Dowager Countess of Grantham (Maggie Smith) may be appalled at the notion, and her son the Earl, Robert (Hugh Bonneville) may be aghast at the notion, but his daughter, Lady Mary’s (Michelle Dockery) pragmatism takes precedence. The roof is leaking and needs fixing, so, with a heavy heart, they agree to the very vulgar proposal.
What’s in the tale of an affluent family and their servants to attract audiences and critics alike …you may well ask? The quaintness of aristocratic ways, the old-worldly charms of an era gone by, the almost aspirational yearning for a distant world that has nothing better to do than worry about keeping their wealth intact, living the high-end life, marrying rich, looking down their noses at lesser folk and gossiping about all and sundry – is a peculiar magnet for the people of today who are too busy surviving to be caught up in such trivial peccadilloes. A delusional fantasy that life was hunky-dory for the haves – all dressing up and bussing around in luxuriant style while the servants display a very stiff upper-lipped cheerful servitude. The feudal status quo is maintained vigorously. No questions raised, none answered is the motto here. Yet the attraction is pretty formidable…all credit to the interestingly structured screenplay, the confident helming, the awesome landscapes spelling nobility, and spot-on ensemble acting.