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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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Index 147 reviews in total 

1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

Elegant, Gripping, Historical Masterpiece

9/10
Author: mvassa71 from United States
19 July 2007

This movie had "Snooty British Period Piece" written all over it, and I'm sure many people who saw the film thought that too. It moves at a methodical pace, and it is embellished with Edwardian grandeur, from the sets to the acting and the story itself. Many people are put off by this kind of stuff. I tend to give everything a chance. This film is unique in that it tells two stories at once; the first, a love story of sorts, and the other, an intriguing geopolitical battle of wills. The photography, score, acting, and set design are absolutely brilliant. It's hard for me to describe how I feel about this great film. There is a melancholy about it that touches my heart. It makes you long for an England that no longer exists. And it entertains! The story is fantastic, we need to know how everything is resolved. And the ending, in some circles, is movie legend. This is Merchant-Ivory's best production by far. This is the kind of film you wish you could have been a character in, that is how charming and captivating it is. I will always cherish this film and keep it as my own personal treasure.

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

Powerful, powerful movie

9/10
Author: zetes from Saint Paul, MN
11 September 2006

I almost skipped this one, given my distaste for British period pieces in general and the other Merchant/Ivory film I had seen in particular. I'm damn glad I didn't. This is a very subtle and quietly devastating picture about a butler whose major character flaw is that he's just too good a butler. Anthony Hopkins plays Mr. Stevens, a man who has given his entire being to his master and who allows himself no thoughts or emotions outside of his duties. The story has two major drives. First, his master (played by James Fox) is a Nazi sympathizer (this is in the mid-30s) and is a major force in the eventual appeasement policies that Britain took up before the war hit home. Second, the lead house keeper (Emma Thompson) becomes emotionally attached to Mr. Stevens, but, given his nature, it's absolutely impossible for him to return the affection, as much as he might feel it inside. I liked most everything about it, but I have to say the story itself was my main point of interest. I just thought it was brilliantly written, and I was deeply moved by it. In fact, as time goes on, my appreciation grows.

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

First class cinema

8/10
Author: bpstraycat from Hungary
19 May 2006

This delightful film deals with questions of duty and circumstance. On one hand, the character played with considerable finesse by Edward Fox is a well-meaning but horribly miss-informed man who, by an accident of birth, has found himself in a position to play a role in far-reaching international events, leading to the suffering of the second world war. On the other hand, we are given Anthony Hopkins, a well-meaning but horribly under-informed man, who, by an accident of birth, makes mistakes in his personal life that eventually lead him to regret.

The juxtaposition of the two characters allow the viewer to consider the nature of both official and personal decisions - that good nature and a desire to serve a perception of 'what is right' can lead honorable people to despair.

This complex and demanding subject was handled superbly by James Ivory, (the director) and his actors. I recommend this film to anyone who wants more than visual excitement. Schmoo says Emma Thompson is very pretty.

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

Tremendously beautiful, deeply frustrating film

9/10
Author: Fergus Ray Murray (imdb@oolong.co.uk) from United Kingdom
1 March 2006

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

In many ways, this film is perfect: It is impeccably cast, gorgeously shot, with a spot-on original score.

It is also a brave and interesting film, for a number of reasons - above all because it takes cowardice as its theme, and explores it deeply with an unflinching eye. We see an awful lot of films about bravery, heroism, people risking everything for the sake of others or to Do The Right Thing; the flipside is seldom explored, and it doesn't make comfortable viewing.

Our protagonists here are thoroughly decent people, getting on with what they feel sort of obliged to be doing, but never quite having the courage to do what they *really should* do. With hindsight, it seems perfectly obvious that it was a grievous mistake to encourage Nazi Germany to re-arm and become a major player in Europe, however ungentlemanly it was to cripple the country at the end of World War One; Lord Darlington's refusal to face up to what was happening smacks of moral cowardice. From outside, too, it seems clear that Hopkins and Thompson are foolish not to just *admit* they're in love. In spite of this, and in spite of the fact that it seems more and more likely that the characters in question know what they should really do, every one of them is altogether sympathetic. The film is not here to judge; only to probe the devastation that can follow when people allow fear (and a misplaced sense of duty) to hold them back from doing what they should.

I started out by saying that in many ways this film is perfect: There is no mistaking that it faultlessly achieves what it set out to do; this is serious art, executed with great style, with the two main leads giving devastating performances. Precisely because it tackles its themes so expertly, so convincingly, it is also a rather upsetting and profoundly frustrating film. It makes us care very much about these people, and we keep desperately wanting them to make things go right, but that is just not where this film is coming from. Life isn't always like that, you know?

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

Engrossing and Thoughtful

9/10
Author: ArizWldcat from United States
9 July 2005

I had seen this movie before, but it was on television (one of the "on demand free movies" we get with our cable company)and I remembered that I liked it, so I watched again. I was almost immediately drawn in to this fascinating story, engrossed in the intricacies of the plot. This reminded me of Gosford Park, in that there is a lot of food for thought here. Emma Thompson is excellent, as is Anthony Hopkins. What fine performances from both of them! I had forgotten that Hugh Grant was in this. His performance was also well done, and understated. Christopher Reeve also had what amounted to a cameo; this movie was made a couple of years before his accident. It's hard to describe the plot, as there is so much going on. Hopkins plays a butler; his goal is to be the finest butler he can be, and one of the best qualities a butler can have is loyalty. Yet, he slowly (very very slowly) realizes that perhaps loyalty, when displaced, is not actually a virtue. Thompson plays the young housekeeper who is very good at what she does, yet she is (by the character's own admission) a coward. The main storyline concerns the butler's unrequited love for the housekeeper, and it is heartbreaking! This is not a film that everyone will enjoy, but the subtleties made it one that I'll most definitely watch again. I highly recommend it, with the caveat that if you'd rather watch an action picture, this won't be for you.

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

Excellent!

Author: Frank McGurk (frankatcccp) from Donegal, Ireland
13 April 2003

Probably the best chosen cast I've ever seen in a film. We all know the story, but what puts this film in the 'eleven out of ten' category is the casting. Anthony Hopkins, his best yet role, his unbending, blind loyalty as Stevens. Emma Thompson, her love unfulfilled. James Fox, the quintessential Englishman of upper class, Lord of Darlington Hall, who, except for an accident of birth, would have no place among men of power. A truly shallow, ignorant man. Christopher Reeve, the all American guy who is streets ahead in forward thinking and reasoning. Michael Lonsdale, the Frenchman, who can't see the clouds of war above his head, because of his blisters on his feet! Peter Vaughan, one of the old school of butlers, and Peter Godfrey, who thinks that brandy and cigars are the weapons of gentlemen. Brigitte Kahn, who couldn't have been better cast, had Goebbals himself had the choice of casting!

"The Remains of the Day" remains in my top six films.

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

Butlery at it's finest!

8/10
Author: garage5inc from Virginia
26 January 2003

The Remains of The Day is a superb film. James Ivory's direction is great, and really stands out in the dinning room and outdoor scenes. When this movie was put out, Emma Thompson had just won her Best Actress a year before and Anthony Hopkins had won his Best Actor two years before, and they were both nominated again for this.

Hopkins discovers through interaction with outside parties that his employer is a nazi co-conspirator before the days of early World War II. He cares little about his master's affairs and just remains professional as the superb head butler. With little time for nobody, including himself, Hopkins' character realizes how he had let his life slip by, and the woman that tried to get to know him and be his friend, Emma Thompson.

This is a must see for anyone who is interested. The scenes can range from beautiful and sentimental to involvement in a thick plot. Great movie 8/10.

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

Evocative Period Piece

Author: nmacca53 from Sydney Australia
24 October 2000

There is a scene near the end of the film where Stevens and Sally have reunited after 20 years and are sitting on a bench on Clevedon pier (actually the pier at Weston-Super-Mare). The pier's fluorescent lights suddenly flicker on, the effect accentuated by them being reflected by the dampened deck.People clap and cheer politely, which pushes Sally to comment that people always seem to do that when the lights come on, and, that for someone, night time is the best time of the day. For Stevens, this is a bitter irony for his hopes of salvaging what remained of his life by wooing Sally back to Darlington Hall were dashed earlier that very day when she informed him of the impending birth of a grandchild and consequent change in plans. Stevens take his leave with the same emotionless grace with which he glided in and out of drawing rooms for all of his adult life. A sad tale of a wasted life, a life of devotion to duty and the supression of any real emotions. There is so much imagery in this finely crafted film. What is not verbally communicated between Stevens and Miss Kentin (Sally)is done so via this imagery. The viewer is given ample scope to discover the messages being conveyed. The absolutely stunning visual depiction of a 'lost England' by the team of JamesIvory is an added bonus.

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

excellent acting and beautiful cinematography

Author: andre-71 from Bonn, Germany
13 October 2000

This was one of the movies I would not have seen voluntarily. Even though I like Anthony Hopkins, I expected the film to be dull and made for females. So, one day I happened to be invited to the university theater for free, and I definitely planned on leaving after having eaten the free snacks. Then I stayed another five minutes, because I wanted to see the beginning. I figured, what the heck - it was for free. But after this I could not leave any more. The picture really caught me. What a splendid bunch of actors! The only role (not actor) I found a little cliché'd was that of Christopher Reeve, the wise and world saving young American. Nonetheless, I give full score for this masterpiece.

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

One of the finest films of the decade

Author: Christopher Wangler from Toronto
17 January 1999

American movies so rarely dramatize awkwardness and propriety with the delicacy and concentration of this relatively-unknown masterpiece. Like the English Patient, The Remains of the Day is a World War II film that says more about loss, blindness and despair than a dozen war movies could. This is especially surprising, since the film deals primarily (but not only) with two "simple servants" in Lord Darlington's gorgeous country manor. The photography is beautiful; the performances divine; the appeal ineffable.

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