What the critics are saying about the 'Downton Abbey' movie: 'Ridiculous but fun'

Ben Arnold
Contributor
Downton Abbey (Credit: Focus Features)

The Downton Abbey movie premiered in London last night, and now critics have had their say on how they feel to be back in the embrace of the Crawley family.

In short, it appears that while it might not sweep the boards during the forthcoming awards season, it's still a treat for fans.

It finds the denizens of Downton thrown into panic following news of a visit from King George V and Queen Mary.

Read more: All the gossip from our Downton Abbey set visit

The Guardian's Peter Bradshaw rather sums it up in a three-star notice, describing it as feeling like 'an intensely glucose Christmas special'.

“There are some films that you really have to see on the big screen,” he adds. “Not this one, though. To get the full, authentic experience, you’ll need to see it on the small screen, on 27 December, with quart of eggnog inside you and enough Quality Street to trigger a diabetic coma. It is at all times ridiculous – but, I have to admit, quite enjoyable.”

(Credit: Focus Features)

Writes Caryn James for the BBC: “The film is delightful fun, even though the plot is obvious almost to the point of stupidity, and there are few surprises for the well-known characters, some of whom are handed unnecessary subplots to give everyone some screen time.”

Adds Brian Viner in the Daily Mail: “There's absolutely no point seeing it if you don't already know who all these people are. If you do, how can you possibly resist?”

Empire calls it 'gentle, unchallenging drama for people who already know they like it, this is a nostalgic and rosy depiction of an England that was, surely, never so innocent'.

Thus far, it's draped in an 85 percent 'fresh' rating on Rotten Tomatoes, despite the vast majority of the reviews being a mediocre three stars.

(Credit: Focus Features)

But not everyone is bathing in the glow of nostalgia for the ITV series, which we all thought had wrapped up its affairs in 2015.

The Daily Telegraph questions ‘does this really deserve to be in cinemas?’

“Ridiculously, it comes billed on buses as ‘the cinematic event of the year’ – true enough if it’s the only film a person might opt to see,” it adds.

The New York Post offers 'two thumbs Downton', branding it 'a lifeless blob of brass fixtures and aerial shots'.

Read more: Downton Abbey trailer drops and there's a Royal arrival

Variety is similarly unimpressed, adding: “It’s reminiscent... of the 2008 film Sex and the City, which was strangely, lumpily paced and told a basically unnecessary story, but which was still true enough to its characters that it was embraced by fans.

“This journey to the past may end up feeling ultimately less nostalgic than backward-looking.”

Whether the movie will draw fans of the series to the cinemas in any significant numbers remains to be seen, but it lands nationwide on September 13.