Right this very instant, somewhere out there the Downton Abbey movie is being made. Perhaps the Crawley family is having a hushed conversation as cameras circle in. Or maybe the cast and crew are on a dainty craft services break!
Regardless, the Downton Abbey movie is happening. And we have no release date.
Lucky for those of us with 20th century England fantasies that need tending, Netflix’s new film The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society is a two-hour episode of Downton Abbey—figuratively speaking—based on Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows’ book of the same name.
Set in the years following World War II, the film follows the lives of members of a book club formed during the German occupation of Guernsey, an island in the English Channel off the coast of Normandy. Overwhelmed by the bleak and oppressive realities of Nazi presence, residents of the island begin secretly meeting to add some much needed levity and love to their days, creating the “The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society” book club in the process.
However, the formation of the club is not the film’s main focus. The true star of the story is found in writer Juliet Ashton, portrayed by the illustrious Lily James—and known to many as Downton‘s Lady Rose MacClare. Following the end of the war and the resultant loss of her parents, Juliet struggles to reclaim her life in London. After exchanging letters with Dawsey Adams (Michiel Huisman of Game of Thrones), Juliet travels to Guernsey where she finds the members of our book club grieving in the same way. Together, they form a type of family.
Downton Abbey alumnae Jessica Brown Findlay and Penelope Wilton appear in supporting roles as members of the book club. Almunus Matthew Goode portrays Juliet’s publisher.
The impromptu Downton Abbey reunion, excitingly, is not the film’s greatest asset. The story and performances that blossom throughout overshadow any sequel vibes and allow for a new universe to find a place in your heart. Poignant and painful, The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society is a tale of love and loss that manages to make even the worst of times seem a bit less scary.
Now available on Netflix, this film is a perfect treat to tide you over until Downton Abbey‘s feature film debut—and to get your fix of Lily James. While much of the Downton Abbey film remains a mystery, James has confirmed that, sadly, Lady Rose will not be returning.
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