THE REMAINS OF THE DAY A film review by Steve Rhodes Copyright 1995 Steve Rhodes
RATING (0 TO ****): *** 1/2
In director James Ivory's The REMAINS OF THE DAY, Anthony Hopkins plays James Stevens, the head of the household staff in a large English country home before and after WW II. Stevens has a religious dedication to his job that is awe inspiring. You might want to question at times why he is so dedicated, nevertheless, you have to be impressed at someone who would give himself over body and soul to his job. His private life was of no importance. Serving his master, Lord Darlington (James Fox), was all important. This was true every minute of every day.
Emma Thompson played Sally Kenton, the head housekeeper. Kenton was Stevens's peer in the hierarchy of the household. She also grew to love Stevens. Stevens, on the other hand, was already married - to his job.
I thought Anthony Hopkins gave an academy award winning performance and Emma Thompson's performance was not far behind. The other actors and actresses in the show were fine, but nothing special. To put my review in context, I saw HOWARDS END, where these two great stars last appeared together, and found it only mildly interesting. Here, their every scene was compelling.
I found the movie very peaceful and extremely serene. I am sure others will see the movie and think it depressing or get angry that Stevens was unable to break the chains that bound him. I found it a fascinating portrait of a person who made a commitment in life and stuck to it without (almost any) question forever. I suspect many monks are not even this dedicated.
THE REMAINS OF THE DAY runs a well edited (Andrew Marcus) 2:18. It is rated PG and would be fine for anyone old enough for a movie about serious themes. Overall, it is an absolute gem of a movie and an absolute must see in my book. I award it *** 1/2 and almost gave it more.
**** = One of the top few films of this or any year. A must see film. *** = Excellent show. Look for it. ** = Average movie. Kind of enjoyable. * = Poor show. Don't waste your money. 0 = One of the worst films of this or any year. Totally unbearable.
REVIEW WRITTEN ON: November 29, 1993
Opinions expressed are mine and not meant to reflect my employer's.
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