I was thoroughly entertained and saw this as a beautiful work of ART. I especially loved the touch of more modern music, some folksy stuff, and some Jazz Era classic sounds to help us stick with this specific time period.
I appreciated how the war was depicted in this period piece; simple verbal mentions, 2? men in uniform, some brief original black and white still montages for the most part, with clever editing illuding to it instead of the gory details re-enacted. Lilly James and Andrew Scott shone, bringing their super eccentric human characters to emphatic life - juxtaposed to The Father, but so well blended with their somewhat varied less supernatural friends and families. Emily Beecham, possibly the real star of the show, is somehow a demure superstar and the giant canvas this story is painted on. If this story were woven into a hand-made tapestry it would take 1000 years to make it. Fortunately we have film makers now - WOW, Emily Mortimer, first time director!!! Had to be a female director for this insight and perspective. I haven't read the novel, but film making is so much more.
I'm finding it so hard to understand why so many are giving this one star. Every aspect of the film making was 10,000%. I love these episodic movies that are able to tell us so much more than the wham-bam-thank-you ma'am feature length reader's digest versions lacking the intricacies of the character's lives. We got Impressionism, Expressionism and Realism all bundled up on film - or however they do it these days. Flawless and chocolate for nearly all the senses. This isn't a popcorn movie - unless you have champaign to go with it.
This is story telling at it's best; a sensual story with incredible balance of daily life, plus the highs and lows of the more intimate aspects of human life. Of course, most of us can't relate to the lives of European arristocracy, but no matter the size of someone's home, people are human, each in their own self-contrived response to their mental, physical and spiritual influences.
I will definitely watch this again and again. All the warnings of nudity-sex-drugs-violence are pretty far fetched. Any partial nudity was cleverly filmed & edited with the intentional accuracy of Olympic synchronized swimmers, sex is suggested, never documented, I don't remember any violence, and there were a couple of brief party scenes where it seemed obvious that more than the influence of alcohol was at play, but no sign or mention of drugs.
If you can't manage a full blown vacation, but really need to escape routines, spend 3 hours in THE PURSUIT OF LOVE - Season 1. ( Can hardly wait to see what Emily Mortimer does next!)