Downton Abbey (inspired by Films to be buried with)

7 Mar

Film as comfort food. We may watch different movies for different reasons- to have a good cry, like with “The Joy Luck Club”, or to have a good laugh, like with “The Birdcage”. But some movies are just like warm blankets, something to snuggle up with and enjoy when you’re in the mood for something pleasant and not too challenging. With the pandemic and shelter in place of the last year, many of us have watched and rewatched certain TV shows and movies to get our minds off of the awfulness of the news outside our doors. Last March, during the initial shutdown, I found myself watching the movie “Downton Abbey”. For me, it was like discovering a whole new world, since I had never seen the TV show. The movie received poor reviews, because it had a scant plot, barely a reason to exist. There is no story, but rather a two hour hangout with beloved characters in a welcoming setting. And that is what has made it such comforting cinema to watch and rewatch.

The gorgeous music, the sumptuous interiors of the home, the green fields surrounding it- for me, these are the main attractions of the world of “Downtown Abbey”. The characters are mostly secondary, but even their dramas are quaint in comparison- a butler experiences a gay night on the town, the princess learns to accept her curmudgeonly husband thanks to an exchange with Tom, the Irish widower who lives at Downton Abbey. The plot is low stakes, and I love it. All the better to sit back, relax, and spend two hours in this lovely little early-20th century world.

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