And the Oscar Goes To… Not a Clue

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Review: Downton Abbey

Downton Abbey is a movie for the legions of loyal fans of the “Downton Abbey” television series, and I am quite confident they will be most pleased with this highly-anticipated opportunity to revisit the estate and all its inhabitants, from the aristocratic Crawley family upstairs, to the devoted servants down below.

What? You’ve never seen the show and don’t know a Crawley from a crawfish? Oh dahling, I’m afraid you must move on. Or binge watch the six seasons that ran on PBS from 2010 to 2015. Or, at the very least, watch this 10-minute recap on YouTube, followed by the extended series finale, available on Amazon Prime. That’s what I did. Sure, it’s a bit like sneaking into a marathon a mile or two from the finish line. But without that baseline of knowledge about the characters and their backstories, I would have felt completely lost. I’m sure I still missed plenty of subtext, but at least I was able to appreciate the fine acting, witty dialogue, gorgeous costumes, early 20th Century set design, and the bucolic scenery.

Review: Finding Your Feet

On the day of her husband’s retirement, Lady Sandra Abbott (Imelda Staunton, Harry Potter‘s Dolores Umbridge) discovers he’s having an affair with her best friend. So she runs away to London to stay with her estranged sister Bif (Celia Imrie, The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel) who’s everything Sandra isn’t — liberal, outspoken, and happy. And little by little Sandra gets her groove back with the help of Bif’s dance class buddies. Finding Your Feet feels kind of familiar — older lady finds herself after a breakup — but thanks to a great ensemble cast and some fun dance scenes, it’s a sweet and uplifting little entertainment.