Downton Abbey ★★★★

One of the joys of being reunited with the upstairs-downstairs denizens of Downton Abbey, the new film that serves as an opulently soapy continuation of the series, is a total and complete lack of stakes. There are, and we cannot stress this enough, zero stakes. (Carson having a temper tantrum over wine decanters aside. Retirement doesn’t change a man!) Except when you start doing some basic math and realize the film jumps ahead to 1927. The following passage-of-time hard truth might wash over you: Oh God, the Dowager Countess is pretty old, innit? Will she … you know … survive? To give you peace of mind, Vulture can definitely, absolutely confirm that the Crawley matriarch (Maggie Smith, a dame to kill for) doesn’t die in the film. However, it’s implied that her death is imminent, and a new era of Downton will soon be forging forward without her.

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