The Remains of the Day

The Remains of the Day Image

Universal acclaim - based on 11 Critics What's this?

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Universal acclaim- based on 30 Ratings

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  • Starring: ,
  • Summary: Set just prior to World War II, this film focuses on the butler (Hopkins) in an English country home.


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Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 10 out of 11
  2. Negative: 0 out of 11
  1. 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.
  2. The New York Times
    Reviewed by: Vincent Canby
    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]
  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. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 78
    Gorgeously lensed and delightfully structured, however, this is, in a word, wonderful.
  7. 60
    This Merchant-Ivory production strains so hard to portray dignified restraint that it almost seizes up with good manners.

See all 11 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 7 out of 7
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 7
  3. Negative: 0 out of 7
  1. NikkiM.
    Jun 14, 2007
    Phenomenal film! Thompson and Hopkins are both extraordinary in their roles.
  2. Jan 19, 2015
    Having now seen nearly every Merchany-Ivory film, I can legitimately say that the Remains of the Day remains their best one, by a longHaving now seen nearly every Merchany-Ivory film, I can legitimately say that the Remains of the Day remains their best one, by a long distance. If you lack patience, you'll never be able to appreciate the subtle strength of this film. The poignancy in the Remains of the Day doesn't arise because we're able to connect with our characters and understand their actions. On the contrary, the part of the movie that I found most emotionally frustrating was my inability to comprehend Stevens (Brilliantly played by Anthony Hopkins) and his line of thought. But Anthony Hopkins clearly apprehends who Stevens is at his core and who he's trying to be. He's a man obsessed with his job, adamant about his role in Lord Darlington's House and resolute about his place in the world. He won't have anyone change his ways. He can't because that's all he knows how to do; that's all he ever does. He doesn't think too much about himself, perhaps because neither does anyone else. Miss Kenton (played by the impeccable Emma Thompson), the new housekeeper, unintentionally ignites the hidden fires within Stevens, of which he knew nothing about. Both fell for each other, neither prepared to take the first step. Not much happens in the remains of the day but whatever does happen, is felt intensely. Mr. Ivory cleverly doesn't sentimentalize or condemn: he merely captures as a passive observer. Was it Stevens' fear or his pride that triggered his dishonesty with himself about himself. He refuses to accept that he was falling in love with Miss Kenton.
    The Remains of the Day is exasperating right to the very end but it stays true to its characters all the way through. Not all love stories have a happy ending. As we've seen with Stevens and Miss Kenton, sometimes people just give up or are too afraid to know what comes next.
  3. 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 itI 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. Collapse
  4. ShahzadaG.
    Jul 3, 2004
    ?Dignity in Remains of the day ? An American mother lost four out of five of her sons at war in Vietnam during 1954. Yet her head is as high ?Dignity in Remains of the day ? An American mother lost four out of five of her sons at war in Vietnam during 1954. Yet her head is as high as Mount Everest with patriotic dignity. But it?s not the same dignity that we see in Stevens?s life depicted on both in Kazuo Ishiguro?s novel and James Ivory?s film Remains of the day. It is Stevens? dignity that provokes questions to the readers and the viewers mind. It poses them to ponder what dignity actually means in life when they read or watch the film. Stevens (Anthony Hopkins) is the protagonist whose dormant feelings and self-indulgence have been suppressed by the concept of ?dignity? that he cherished with profound delicacy throughout his service life at Darlington hall. But unfortunately, that ?dignity? has brought little meaning and many unhappy moments in his life. His dignity has existed like a mist in a winter morning that goes away in the glare of a dazzling sun. Nearly at the end of the novel and also in the film, the viewers get to see how dignity plays a treacherous role in Stevens?s life. Nevertheless, the film did an excellent job in changing some scenes to emphasize and show dignity that is so ingrained in Stevens? life. Although the book has a greater detail of events than it is in the film, the director kept the central themes congruent. In the realm of modernism and capitalism, the English aristocracy and the formality of a butler?s profession remain as an interesting story, but not as a pervasive manner of lifestyle for today?s? generation. The modernism, individuality, and freedom of expression took over the habitual human thinking that was existed during the Darlington?s era. Generally ordinary citizens have little right to express their opinions on issues of politics. The English colonialism and their mannerism have also had an impact on the people during that time. According to Bert Cardullo? the elegiac representation of the British imperialism and celebrates its heyday by depicting a return to the practice of social hierarchy?(The servant,1). We also have seen in the movie that the international delegates are so secluded from the touch of the ordinary people. However, one may argue though that the impact of Modernism we have seen in Remains of the day would shape and mold the English civilization gradually rather than occurring as a revolution. There were people during the Darlington era who also have similar mannerism and modern thinking as today. For example Miss Kenton who believed on her opinions and has the dignity of choosing for her own as oppose to Stevens. She opposed the idea of firing those Jews servants and she chooses to marry and quite the job for her own happiness that was impossible for Stevens. For her it is the confidence in what she values has the high dignity and self esteem just as we would in today generation. The dignity is a quintessential idea in the novel. In the film it is undeniably repeated many times in order to simply establish the importance of it to the readers and the viewers of Remains of the day. The idea of dignity here has revolved around from the perspective of professional success and achievements. But both Stevens and his father have been a merciless victim of ?dignity?. Stevens father also suppressed his feeling for dignity. He served indifferently to the general even though his son died in war because of his absurd decision ( the remains of the day). But the dignity is nothing but merely a product of social and traditional legacy passed on to the so-called English gentleman?s society, which was an impediment to the growth of individuality. Nonetheless, dignity is not a valuable security that Stevens had thought about throughout his youth while providing service to Lord Darlington. It is unfolded at the end quite dramatically in his life. Because of the dignity he had lost an opportunity of having an affair with Miss Kenton who is Emma Thompson in the movie. Miss Kenton has implied her interests and feelings to him couple of times and tried to convey her love. Once she was invited to go out for a dinner with Mr. Benn and later proposed to marry him. And when she got back to Darlington, she asked Stevens about his opinion on it. But Stevens remained cold and formal as usual and expressed only congratulation that was inadequate and ignited subtly Miss Kenton?s emotional feelings( film- remains of the day). It is his dignity once again that has not only left his life sad and gloomy, but lonely as well. Stevens? dignity was all about Lord Darlington. His satisfaction comes from providing a better service without making silly mistakes. But the honor and dignity put Stevens in an awkward position. According to one of the critiques of the Remains of the day, Jennifer Bussey ? what a terrible mistake he realized that he made about both his failed romance with her and his support of Lord Darlington?s Nazi sympathies. This may be no more than denial and evasion in Anthony Hopkins? performance, but there is more at work in the novel?(critique on Remains). Eventually, Steven?s remuneration of service to lord Darlington has become a nostalgic memory only. Because of his dignity, he remained with the international congregation and did not go to see his dead father. He even had to keep his identity secrete from the outside world because disclosing his identity and his former employer Darlington would demean his value to the people of England. Essentially, his dignity made him a man who has no room for learning his feelings until the end. The director of the movie James Ivory says ?he portrays a kind of butler who does not talk or share opinions, but observes and sees ways to serve the master? (ljlkjljlkj). Thus, his ?dignity? and professionalism demolished his life that he could have had throughout his youth. Bibliography Ishiguro, Kazuo: The Remains of The Day.1989; London. Cardullo, Bert: The servant, Eden-Webster Library. Info Trac One file Plus. Jennifer, Bussey article: critical essay on ?The Remains of the Day? Ivory, Jmames: Remains of The Day. Colombia Pictures Ltd. Expand

See all 7 User Reviews


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