Scene 2 Scene: Downton Abbey (2010- ) vs. Mrs. Miniver (1942)

First, a little background about both of these:

Downton Abbey

With its critical acclaim, Emmy nominations, and popularity with viewers, there’s a good chance you’ve already heard about this TV drama series.  Basically, it follows the lives of a rich, titled family in England, as well as those of their servants, starting in the early 1900s.  We see how their lives are affected by social change and historical events.

Mrs. Miniver

The movie focuses on a middle-class family in England during World War II.  Its purpose was to show Americans what the English were living through and sacrificing — and it fulfilled its purpose quite well, doing a lot to further the war effort.  Its final message was that there is a cost to war, and for that cost to not be wasted, we can’t give up.  The final scene shows the characters meeting for religious services, after a devastating air raid the night before, in a beautiful old church, now missing part of the roof and walls, singing a heartfelt “Onward, Christian Soldiers.”  Greer Garson won the Academy Award for Best Actress for the title role, and the film won five other Oscars, including Best Picture.

The Scene: A Flower Show

Sort of like an American county fair, the town gets together every year for a Flower Show.  They enter their most beautiful roses, chrysanthemums, etc.

In both shows, the reigning champion of the Rose Category is the aristocrat: Lady Beldon in Mrs. Miniver, and Lady Grantham in Downton Abbey.  Neither has ever lost, and usually there isn’t even any competition.  But this year, there is an entry against them, and there’s a chance they might lose.

The competition in Downton Abbey is the retired father of a butler.  In Mrs. Miniver, it is an elderly man who works at the train station.  In both cases, their roses are beautiful, and the friends/family/associates of the Ladies talk about the judging being unfair, because the judges won’t want to go against the Ladies, who are local leaders, and from noble families.

The Ladies stand before everyone to announce the winners.  They have been cocky, prideful.  They feel that they will when, that they should win.  But the comments of those around them have bothered them.  Would the judges truly be impartial?  They look at the results, and see that they are listed as the winner.  But they look at the roses, and at the elderly, lower-class men who have entered them.

And the Ladies announce that their competition, these humble men, have won.

Everyone cheers, and you like these Ladies all the better for it.


About CactusWriter

I have a BA in English from Oregon State University. I love movies and books, especially when I get to share them with people I care about.
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