A rule bound head butler's world of manners and decorum in the household he maintains is tested by the arrival of a housekeeper who falls in love with him in pre-WWII Britain. The possibility of romance and his master's cultivation of ties with the Nazi cause challenge his carefully maintained veneer of servitude. Written by
Keith Loh <email@example.com>
James Ivory described the film's principal character, James Stevens (Sir Anthony Hopkins), "as a bit like a priest who puts his life almost on an altar. He serves his lord unconditionally, and in this case, his lord is literally a Lord (Lord Darlington). Perhaps it's a mentality that we don't know so well in the United States, except in the military, or indeed, in the priesthood. Within Stevens' life there is a very, very small area that is his, and the rest of time he belongs to, or is committed to, a larger idea, or ideal: that of unquestioning service to an English aristocrat: his Master, right or wrong." See more »
When Mr. Stevens arrives in the market town on his way to Clevedon, a modern "National Westminster Bank" sign is seen on a building in the background as he is getting his case out of the car. See more »
You remember that American, Stevens, calling Lord Darlington an Amateur? Well he was right, Stevens. He was damn right.
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This movie is James Ivory's best, and one of Anthony Hopkins' and Emma Thompson's better films.
Did you ever care to know what British upper class life was like in past centuries for both nobility and gentry (their servants?) This show humanizes life for them all, revealing their common foibles and their collective challenges.
One would think that Hopkins would be the quintessential casting choice for a high quality 19th or 20th century British butler. He admits that it is a role that he had to study since he has never had a butler, or known one. Well, he did a superb job.
Emma Thompson performs spectacularly as romantic interest and head housekeeper. Believability is her byline.
Altogether a well-rounded cast, and an excellent production that captivates, entertains and entrances. You'd almost want to trade lives with most any of the characters, for better or worse.
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