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The Remains of the Day
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Reviews & Ratings for
The Remains of the Day More at IMDbPro »

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1 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

My favourite all time film.....

10/10
Author: (walmington@yahoo.com) from Bristol, England
24 March 2001

I can only watch this film every 6 months as it affects me so much. It is the finest film I have ever seen, in acting talent, attention to detail, the excellent story and the relationship between the two central characters and their repressed love for eachother, Mr. Stevens and Miss. Kenton. This film is the only film that has ever made me cry and continues to do so, even though I've seen it now about 10 times. You will find yourselves, I promise you, shouting at the reserved Mr. Stevens "Tell her!". Some characters you will find yourself instantly hating just because they have any sort of contatct with Miss. Kenton simply because you know Mr. Stevens is so, so in love with her and she like wise yet they never ever tell eachother. The underlying story of the tensions before the second world war is also entertaining as is the fate of their employer Lord Darlington.

Being English the whole film also highlights an England lost and a reserve and restraint that in some cases still exists within our country.

Anthony Hopkins and Emma Thompson. Amazing. You have to see this film. A cliche, I know, but get the Kleenex in.

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1 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

A timeless period piece

10/10
Author: pajamo from USA
19 August 1999

I've always been so-so with Merchant -Ivory films. In fact, the first viewing of this left me as strangely cold. Pretty and well-acted to be sure but cold and detached nonetheless. Several (and I mean several) viewings later it has pulled me in as one of the most truthful films about love,history and last but not least humanity(cheesy, I know) films that I've ever seen. Lastly, and perhaps rather sadly, it serves as the single best performance of Christopher Reeves career.

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2 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

Incredible

10/10
Author: (deeqince@hotmail.co.uk) from United Kingdom
10 June 2005

This is one of my all time favourite films and I'll never tire of watching it. You are drawn into the film and actually feel like you are seeing this world of appeasement and stately homes through each individual actor's eyes. You can see the passion in the butler's eyes, never-mind how much he tries to hide it. You sense the housekeepers despair at ever reaching the butler through his 'unseeing'? eyes. Each time I watch it I feel a new intensity and the film proffers many more questions. The acting? Ludicrously excellent all round, with Hopkins and Thompson digging gold. Making you believe that they really don't know what awaits the world around the corner.

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2 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

Maybe I could have enjoyed this movie if I hadn't read the book...

8/10
Author: anonymous from Hillsborough, NJ
21 May 1999

Certain parts of the story obviously had to be changed or omitted for the film version because they depended entirely on Stevens' internal monologue; for this I was completely prepared. But why - WHY - was the ending changed? Amputated, actually - the movie is a bloody stump of the novel. This was not only pointlessly to fans of the book but an inexcusable affront to the author, Mr. Ishiguro. So I implore anyone who enjoyed the movie to READ THE BOOK. It is SO much better. God, what a horrible waste of Anthony Hopkins and Emma Thomson. It is entirely to the actors' credit that the movie was even watchable, let alone critically acclaimed. I could have easily overlooked the petty discrepancies scattered needlessly throughout the rest of the movie (e.g. did Mr. Stevens Sr. really have to be 75 instead of 72? I don't think so) had the ending at least been attempted. Even despite the frequent, annoying, and seemingly pointless jabs at the utter perfection that was the novel, I was enjoying the movie (thanks only to Hopkins and Thomson) until the very end and then...oh, the horror! What was all that pigeon garbage? There was no pigeon! The book's meaning is clear and powerful, but the movie succumbs to artsy temptation and dilutes (if not completely destroys) the author's message. It's a terrible, terrible shame.

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0 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Sad quaintness and foolishness

10/10
Author: Dr Jacques COULARDEAU from Olliergues, France
13 November 2010

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Quaintness is a British style and anyone born and bred in that country knows everything about service when it is service to a lord. The servants of these lords are a species of servants quite different from anything we can imagine and Anthony Hopkins is making the depicting and rendering of this profession one of the most perfect and intriguing pieces of cinema about the humanity of these servants. It is true English literature is absolutely full of models, including Shakespeare though this latter one preferred his nurses and maids insolent and witty. Are they still humans, or are they robots. We will actually never know. They are able to behave and react along the same line no matter what happens. His old father trips and hurts himself, his old father dies during his service, fascists from Germany are roaming around and trying to manipulate the Prime Minister and the Lord his highness and lordship, an American delegate slaps them all across the face by calling them amateurs, his housekeeper leaves him to marry and ends up crying all her heart out, two Jewish refugees are fired because they are Jewish, anything, really anything may happen and nothing will change the course of their service, of their life of service. They don't hear, they don't see, they don't think, they don't know anything, anyone, anywhere and at any time. Never will one single word stand out in the discourse of these servants, not one button be untied, not one shoe be unpolished, one hair stand upright instead of being curbed down. They are automatons that are just intelligent enough to pass the wine around and not pour mustard in the glasses. That world has vanished of course, mostly, and such caricatures of humanity have been mostly erased from our memory, especially since television has produced innumerable funny comedies on such valets in today's world. So why do they do it? To live well without having to think of any problem or difficulty? Anything and everything is taken care of? They are wing props that will never come on stage and shine but they like obscurity, shadow, shade, invisibility? Apart from that quaint vision of a quaint world that has disappeared, thanks God in any religion imaginable, what's left? People who can look on their lives and consider that they have achieved nothing, they have reached no real target, they have been no one, no one of any importance, they have shown no self pride and no self esteem because the self is just beyond that world for servants. Anthony Hopkins and Emma Thompson play their parts with so much truth and dedication that we even believe after all it might have been a good thing. They would have accepted to be thrown alive into the incinerators in Auschwitz or Buchenwald and they may even have said "Thank you, Sir, and I am glad I can be of service!" It is all the more poignant and pathetic because the Lord and master was a pro-nazi activist and tried to sell England to Berlin, though he only managed to sell Czechoslovakia in Munich. Any honest British citizen should have resigned when asked to dismiss two Jewish Girls because they were Jewish and actually found a way to tell the public and warn them about the villainy that was being prepared: more than fifty million dead in the world. They are the leftovers of a banquet they have not even tasted.

Dr Jacques COULARDEAU, University Paris 1 Pantheon Sorbonne, University Paris 8 Saint Denis, University Paris 12 Créteil, CEGID

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0 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Just as good as the book

10/10
Author: monkey_kelstar from United States
4 September 2009

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I finished reading the book (an instant favorite) only about two weeks before I first saw the movie, which I honestly didn't think would do the book justice. I gave it a chance, however, and I was pleasantly surprised. Not only did Anthony Hopkins shine, but for anyone who read the book, the movie leaves little room for disappointment. It covers all the main points of the book and remains accurate. The only major thing they changed was that Mr. Lewis-the American senator who attended Lord Darlington's international conference on Germany- became Stevens' new employer, not Mr. Farraday. The ending was very good, too, especially because Stevens and Miss Kenton are both crying when they part, possibly for the last time. The movie overall captures the essence of the book because you can really understand how Stevens is feeling: he looks back on his life and realizes that it meant nothing. It's devastating and if you're particularly sensitive, you'll probably cry.

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0 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Ravishingly beautiful and terrifyingly sad

10/10
Author: funkyfry from Oakland CA
21 March 2009

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I always wanted to see this movie and would only catch it when it was already in progress. Finally sitting down and watching the entire film from beginning to end was a fantastic experience. This is one of those films that I doubt will ever leave my memory. I can't stand sentimental melodramas -- this film made me sentimental and I didn't mind, because everything in it is expressed in an oblique way that allows me to feel like I approached the material on my own terms, as opposed to lesser film-makers than James Ivory who often feel the need to direct the audience as well as the picture.

Anthony Hopkins as James Stevens, a deeply repressed traditional English butler, and Emma Thompson as Mary Kenton, the housekeeper who prides herself on independence but years for emotional connection, are two of the greatest performances that I've had the privilege to see on film. There are also good supporting performances by James Fox as Stevens' first employer whose sense of nobility leads him into an unsavory connection with the Nazi party and Christopher Reeves as an American millionaire who is Stevens' second employer at the same country estate.

Although the film in general could be seen mostly as the story of Stevens and Kenton's relationship, the unexpressed love and the years of growing closer and then drawing apart, it's really a movie with a broader theme that ties the smaller characters into the larger narrative. As the author of the novel expresses on a good documentary included on the DVD, it's really about decisions in our lives that can lead to basically a person wasting his entire life away as Stevens does. Our decisions and actions sometimes arise from our deepest and best nature but can lead to emptiness and ruin, as they did for Stevens and Lord Darlington (Fox).

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0 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Recreates the period beautifully ....

10/10
Author: northa2901 from United Kingdom
24 September 2006

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This is a thoroughly enjoyable movie. If you know what some of the English establishment was up to in the late '30's, you'll enjoy seeing it played out on screen; if not, you'll learn as well as being entertained. The relationship between Stevens and Miss Kenton is developed very well. The way in which Stevens comes to realise how his loyalty to what he saw as "duty" has cost him the chance of happiness; and Miss Kenton regrets the wasting of years in what becomes a loveless marriage is at the centre of the story. But for me, the most enjoyable theme is how Lord Darlington (superbly played by James Fox)genuinely believes that war with Germany can be avoided by working with the Nazis; then, when he realises that he has been taken for a fool by them, is left a broken man. His character is counterbalanced by that of Cardinal (one of Hugh Grant's best performances)who, with the passion of his youth, argues that the Nazis can't be trusted, and that confrontation is the only way to avoid disaster. And in a poignant irony, Cardinal goes to war and is killed for his beliefs, whilst Lord Darlington is left to face his guilt and naivety, and the loss of his entire way of life. One of the high spots of the movie is when,on the eve of war, Darlington presents a lost and forlorn figure sheltering from a violent thunderstorm - an allegory for the breaking of the political storm clouds that led to world war. As his staff run to flee the rain, just as many ordinary people ran to survive a war, and often failed, Darlington is a sorry bystander who can do nothing but live with his regrets. His pre-war guests, for the most part anti-semitic, arrogant snobs, who aimed to benefit from German invasion by collaborating, or from a war by profiteering, are nowhere to be seen. First rate. Would highly recommend.

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0 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

One of the best films I've ever watched...

10/10
Author: eustfam from Philippines
25 September 2004

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I was pleasantly surprised by this movie--I thought I would be bored but since it had both Anthony Hopkins and Emma Thompson in it, I decided to watch it anyway. Their acting was superb--I felt Anthony Hopkins should have won the Oscar for best actor in this movie--especially in the scene where his father has a heart attack in the middle of a very important dinner with very important guests and Anthony Hopkins has to continue with his duties as head butler. He manages to control his emotions but his eyes tells it all--how deeply hurt he is. No overacting here. In another scene where Emma Thompson tells him that she is leaving to get married--I have never seen such great acting in my life! I could almost feel his pain--losing the only woman he has ever loved. While his decision to let her go is certainly foolish, one can only watch in wonder how flawlessly Anthony Hopkins acted out this scene and it is repeated much later when he goes to visit Emma Thompson at the conclusion of the film.

Great movie, great acting all the way. I could scarcely believe that the script was written by a Japanese--he really showed what that "British stiff upper lip" is all about...

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0 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

A marvelous movie - beautifully filmed and acted. Superb!

10/10
Author: Clarice-5 from Victoria, Canada
13 November 2001

Merchant and Ivory couldn't have cast this movie better. Hopkins and Thompson were superlative -- their supporting cast simply wonderful. This movie has such pathos and gentle understanding of the human condition, it's always a pleasure to see.

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