Flawless performances from Hopkins and Thompson form the emotional core of Merchant-Ivory’s tale of repressed love in a 1930s’ English manor. Hopkins is the butler whose feelings for Thompson’s housekeeper cause him to question the personal sacrifices he’s made during a lifetime of subservience.
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In Ishiguro's book, the revelation that Stevens is a unreliable narrator--that is, he has lied to himself and the reader about his true feelings--at the end is heartbreaking. That literary moment has remained with me all these years later. Similarly, the scene in this apaption where Stevens & Ms Kenton part for the last time was an excellent stand-in for the above-mentioned book scene. What a marvelous film adaption!
Kazuo Ishiguro's richly detailed and emotionally rich novel was masterfully adapted by scripter Ruth Prawer Jhabvala and produced with intricate detail by the Merchant/Ivory house and stands as one of their most significant achievements. Casting was key and Hopkins and Thompson were at their very best in this world of checked emotions and things left unsaid. Set design and cinematography were near perfection.
Ishiguro's novel happens on the level of form: its pompous style is, at the same time, satirical, kafkian, & melodramatic, with no clear differentiation between the layers. Ivory can only capture the latter of these facets, and only on a narrative plane (pure academicism). What happens is that the ideas that Ishiguro puts under scrutiny, such as dignity, are simply upheld brainlessly in this weepie, idiotic melodrama
Anthony Hopkins will be forever known in cinematic history for his iconic role in The Silence of the Lambs but the emotional depth he brings to his character in The Remains of the Day will always be his finest hour.
Probably the most satisfying Merchant Ivory production shedding the usual (distracting) trappings for a taut and gripping two-hander. It's magnificently performed by Thompson and Hopkins who scale the repressed emotions with exquisite aplomb. In this respect a 90-degree cousin of Brief Encounter, although a double bill of these two would be crushing in tender sadness.
Another great literary adaption by James Ivory. Like "A Room with a View" it's based on an incredible good script, but casting Hopkins and Thompson has been the real coup - and a wise choice: Their intense representation of the two main characters is utterly admirable. I never feel bored by watching this rather sad but also complex film once again.
A brilliant movie that exposes so much more than class differences, peeling back the facade of stifling 1930s class structure that existed within the underbelly of the manor's staff. A stupendous performance by Anthony Hopkins