First off, if you haven’t viewed and enjoyed the program’s six seasons on the telly, you may want to give this one a miss; it won’t make a lot of sense. For that matter, you might as well stop reading this review. 

But if you were a fan, this is an absolute must-see. It takes up where the TV show left off, amping up the opulence for the big screen, and centering on a visit to Downton by the king and queen. Initially thrilled at the idea of serving the monarchs, the downstairs staff is crushed to learn that the royal couple will be bringing along their own, very snooty and overbearing serving staff. 

Maggie Smith and most of the cast are back, indeed so many of them that the movie has to juggle about two dozen subplots. That each one manages to be meaningful and even happily ended (remember, I’m talking to fan-persons, here) is a tribute to the screenwriting genius of Julian Fellowes. Incredibly, it all works, and it knows when to stop. As do I.

January 10 (122 min)