Transformers and other so-called blockbusters. Yet FROM TIME TO TIME -- adapted (from a novel by Lucy M. Boston) and directed by Julian Fellowes (shown below, of Gosford Park and Downton Abbey) -- manages to hold our attention, while alternately charming, moving and befuddling us.
Alex Etel, below, right) -- whose soldier father is missing in action and whose mother is estranged from the family -- comes to stay for Christmas at the estate of his grandmother (Maggie Smith, below, left). This great home has clearly seen better days and is now peopled by a skeleton staff (Pauline Collins and Timothy Spall, the latter shown in the penultimate photo, below) but also by a bevy of ghosts from a century or two past. Young Tolly soon finds himself embroiled in not only the current financial problems of the estate but the much more pressing and dramatic doings of those ancestors who lived here all those deacdes ago.
Hugh Bonneville (above, center), as pater familias (soon to be used in that now-famous "Abbey"), and Douglas Booth as his spoiled, nasty son (who would go on to play Romeo in Fellowes' recent and better-than-you've-heard Shakespeare adaptation).
Carice van Houten (above, left) as the grasping wife and Dominic West (above, right) as a conniving butler. Everyone plays into his/her role nicely, and some (as Ms Van Houten's character) are even given interesting moral shadings of good and bad.
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