Universal acclaim - based on 11 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 10 out of 11
  2. Negative: 0 out of 11
  1. Looks grand without being overdressed, it is full of feeling without being sentimental. Here’s a film for adults. It’s also about time to recognize that Mr. Ivory is one of our finest directors. [5 November 1993, p. C1]
  2. 100
    A classically polished drama about repressed emotions, self delusion and protracted heartbreak, this Merchant/Ivory movie is one of the most affecting experiences of the year.
  3. 100
    Hopkins and Thompson's downright marvelous duet is supported by a host of deft players, and the detailed re-creation of this small universe is in all ways remarkable.
  4. 90
    Detractors will see the usual parade of repressed feelings in a Masterpiece Theatre setting. Those who look closer will find one of the best films of the year.
  5. 88
    The whole movie is quiet, introspective, thoughtful.
  6. 88
    An engaging and powerful motion picture, every bit the equal of Merchant Ivory's best work, and certainly the most emotionally-wrenching tale they have brought to the screen.
  7. Reviewed by: Todd McCarthy
    All the meticulousness, intelligence, taste and superior This curious, cloistered piece... is continuously absorbing but lacks the emotional resonance that would have made it completely satisfying.
  8. 78
    Gorgeously lensed and delightfully structured, however, this is, in a word, wonderful.
  9. Reviewed by: Staff(not credited)
    Though it offers a host of fine performances in a smoothly crafted, adult drama of unfulfilled love, it lacks the cumulative dramatic impact of the team's best work.
  10. The actors keep this interesting, but as a story it drifts and rambles.
  11. 60
    This Merchant-Ivory production strains so hard to portray dignified restraint that it almost seizes up with good manners.
User Score

Universal acclaim- based on 25 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 7 out of 7
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 7
  3. Negative: 0 out of 7
  1. Jun 12, 2014
    This is the best Merchant-Ivory film by a long long way. James Ivory captures the introspective feelings of Stevens, the repressed Butler, wonderfully and Anthony Hopkins portrays those feelings beautifully. Not much happens in the remains of the day but what happens is felt deeply. It's a slow meditation on the characters and Mr. Ivory cleverly doesn't sentimentalize or condemn: he merely captures as though he were a passive observer. If you don't have enough patience, you'll never be able to appreciate the subtle strength of this film. This film really felt like a fresh breath of air from all the nauseating nonsense that's screened today. An absolute masterpiece. Full Review »
  2. Mar 1, 2011
    I am still surprised as to how much I liked this movie. A butler? Really? And yet it was so well written, acted, directed that I thought it was outstanding. Full Review »
  3. Oct 2, 2010