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42 of 43 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding
Remains of the Day is without question my favourite book. Indeed I have enjoyed all of Kazuo Ishiguro's books. Now ordinarily I would expect that watching a film of what I consider to be one of the great books, even a film as highly aclaimed as this one, is only going to lead to disappointment. Indeed I had put off watching this for years for that very reason, I...
Published on 9 Jan 2006 by Paul Johnson

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8 of 11 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Yes, this gorgeous film is unhistorical & it won't hurt to mention it along the way.
This gorgeous, sensitive film has only two blemishes and they are part of the recurring subtext of Merchant-Ivory films, aided by the subtle propagandist Ruth Prawer Jhabvala who can always be counted upon to present plot dimensions that whallop the bygone British ruling class that had its way in India and elsewhere. The character played by James Fox is the British upper...
Published 24 months ago by Ronald Haak


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42 of 43 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding, 9 Jan 2006
By 
Paul Johnson - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Remains of the Day is without question my favourite book. Indeed I have enjoyed all of Kazuo Ishiguro's books. Now ordinarily I would expect that watching a film of what I consider to be one of the great books, even a film as highly aclaimed as this one, is only going to lead to disappointment. Indeed I had put off watching this for years for that very reason, I did not want my memory of the book to be spoilt by an inferior film. What a foolish mistake that proved to be.
This film is quite simply outstanding.
It is failful to the novel and does an impressive job of adapting almost the entire book into film so the beautifully told story is not lost at all.
It is the acting that really makes this though. Much has been said about Hopkins performance and it is one of his best (if not the best), but the supporting cast are equally strong. Emma Thompson is brilliant as Miss Kenton, playing the character just as I would have imagined.
I can't recommend this highly enough.
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65 of 67 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A classic masterpiece, 3 Dec 2000
By A Customer
Hopkins delivers one of the finest performances in cinema hisory as the loyal butler, too dedicated to his job to concentrate on the affairs of his own life. Both Hopkins and Thompson show supurb acting and on-screen chemistry that really sets a mark for the British film industry. The film contains a wide variety of fine co-stars with the likes of Hugh Grant and Christopher Reeve who add yet more strength to the overall quality of this film.
Totally recomended to all who expect to be entertained by good acting and high standard drama.
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55 of 57 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars very moving, 19 Nov 2003
By 
S. Hapgood "www.sjhstrangetales.com" - See all my reviews
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In spite of the magnificence of the stately home in which this is set this is a surprisingly low-key film, helped by a beautifully moody score. Everything about it is understated to great effect. Anthony Hopkins plays a butler who is anxious to distance himself from the fact that a previous employer, Lord Darlington (James Fox) was a notorious Nazi appeaser. His new employer (Christopher Reeve) loans him his car so that he can go and pay a long-overdue visit to the ex-housekeeper (Emma Thompson). During the journey Hopkins reflects on his past career at Darlington Hall.
It is very hard to find the right words to describe what a beautiful film this is. Anthony Hopkins gives an incredible performance, quietly restrained but acting with every fibre of his being, as the man who has devoted himself to a lifetime of service, to the detriment of his own emotions and feelings. Nowhere is this more effective than in the scenes with his elderly father (Peter Vaughan), where he has the difficult job of portraying a man who cares deeply for his father but won't let anything (not even his father's death) get in the way of duty. Vaughan is also faultless as the man who has effectively turned himself into a human machine, there solely to serve others, and distraught when he can no longer do so.
James Fox has the unenviable role of playing Lord Darlington, a man who, though you can understand his own personal reasons for wanting to appease the Germans (he made a pact in the trenches with a German friend that they would never go to war again), it is hard to be sympathetic to his naivety when dealing with the Nazi's. The scene where he orders the two Jewish refugees he has working for him to be sent away is quite chilling. As is the house-party where he lavishly entertains some of the German top brass, and behind his back they are quietly making note of all his fine arts, for when they finally get to commandeer the house! These are all deeply uncomfortable scenes to watch.
The relationship between Hopkins and Thompson is the highlight of this film. Emma Thompson playing one of her most loveable characters, the oh-so English (almost Joyce Grenfell-ish) Miss Kenton. Hopkins is never better than when struggling with his attraction for her, and Thompson's increasing frustration with him that he won't break out of being a butler, not even for an instant! If you watch this film you won't regret it, it is intelligent, thought-provoking and deeply moving, and has some of the best acting you will ever see on film. I don't want to give too much away, but the ending perfectly sums up the old saying that to be reticent about love is possibly the worst mistake of all!
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Perfect Performances, 8 Dec 2007
By 
David R. Bishop "Bishbaby" (Plymouth, UK) - See all my reviews
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Some may not appreciate my stating that I find some of the Merchant Ivory productions stodgy and self-absorbed. Not so this one. Antony Hopkins and Emma Thompson lead a cast who just did everything right.

Antony Hopkins butler character is a study in deference and emotional repression. A difficult childhood is hinted at by his father. We are left to flesh out a few brief remarks, and wonder how he was left so cold and detached. He immerses himself in his work. The housekeeper played by Emma Thompson, is obviously attracted to the butler, and the attraction appears mutual at times. There are almost tender moments between them, but ultimately, he is never going to let his guard down. It is as though he uses the strict formality of the era and the household to hide behind.

The film is slow burning, with little action. A sub-plot concerning the pre war Nazi sympathy of the master do nothing to take my attention away from the story of the butler and the housekeeper.

This movie deserved all it's Acadamy Award nominations. What a pity it never won any. It is a fine example of British cinema at it's best.
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Two of the best acting performances you will ever see, 11 Sep 2007
By 
K-Pax (Bonnie Scotland) - See all my reviews
Sir Anthony Hopkins truly is a master when it comes to 'getting into character'. His ability to portray the most subtle of human emotions throughout the film, coupled with his deft ability to become 'Mr Stevens' is one of the best pieces of acting I have ever witnessed. His performance should have won him an Academy award but a superb supporting role by Emma Thompson would also have been deserving of an Oscar. The repressed love between the two characters makes for exasperating viewing as you almost wish they would dispel with the formalities and say how they feel towards one another. However, as a whole the film is beautifully shot and this film is simply superb. While I did not feel as emotional as I did watching 'Shadowlands', I still felt quite sad as the film concluded purely through the supreme activing abilities of Hopkins and Thompson. Wonderful.
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26 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Remains of the Day, 11 Jan 2004
This film is one of the most enchanting ones I have ever seen, a most touching and extraordinary story, flawlessly acted by Emma Thompson and Antony Hopkins. The adaptation of Ishiguro's book really captures the essence of the story in spite of the slight differences mostly due to directorial choice. There is a lot of fun here, but also some silent cruelty in the way the story ends. The presence of emotional depth and its manifestation in the actors' gestures and especially their mimic renders the whole movie really lifelike, which - every occasion you see it - makes you hope that the outcome can somehow be different... Although it cannot, I recommend this film to everybody who enjoys romantic-dramatic movies and is not afraid of shedding a few tears.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Great Film, 30 April 2002
By 
Doctor Diesel (Reading, England) - See all my reviews
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Very possibly the best film I have ever seen. The running of Darlington Hall is portrayed in fine detail, with the onset of World War 2 as a backdrop. The film really captures the era in which it is set, with compelling performances from Hopkins and Thompson. I agree with all the other reviews written here to date.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars For a cauterised heart ..., 24 Aug 2006
By 
Mr. C. Christodoulou "Chris C" (London, UK) - See all my reviews
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This is an exemplar of the Merchant-Ivory style and is infinitely superior to almost all other historically-contextualised films representing the apparent idiosyncracies of British-ness (emotional restraint and disconnectedness; deferral/loyalty to authority, particularly to aristoratic prestige, etc). That the internalised torment the central characters go through (brilliantly depicted by Emma Thompson and Anthony Hopkins) is no less nullified by the outward presentation of politeness and decorum is a testament to both the original text and the screenplay adaptation.

I watched this after being rejected by long-time adored one ... It is very possibly the most complete cinematic expression of the suffering induced by unrequited love since 'Casablanca'.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant - does full justice to the superb novel, 8 Aug 2002
By 
Huck Flynn "huckleberry" (northern ireland) - See all my reviews
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A thoroughly absorbing and moving film brilliantly adapted from the exceptional Kazuo Ishiguro novel. Flawless acting in every part with Hopkins & Thompson just perfect and Fox, Grant and Reeve admirable in support. There is so much going on under the surface of this story of life below stairs in a large stately home and there is great psychological tension, pathos and humour in equal amounts but Upstairs, Downstairs it is not. In many ways the story is a relentless voyage of discovery as both Lord Darlington and his butler Stevens meet their political and personal destiny. There are so many memorable, powerful and affecting moments. First rate acting, casting, script, direction, music that does justice, uncommonly, to the original work. A delightful film that you will want to savour over and over again.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Mesmerizing, Intelligent Look at Star-Crossed Love from Merchant & Ivory, 17 Aug 2008
By 
John Kwok (New York, NY USA) - See all my reviews
"Remains of the Day" will be regarded as one of the great film masterpieces of the Merchant-Ivory team, now tragically ended with the untimely death, earlier this year, of Ismail Merchant from cancer. Their films were the quintessential cinematic epics respectful of both the settings and characters adapted from both period and contemporary novels, blessed frequently with elegant scripts from their literary partner Ruth Prawer Jhabvala, and of course superb acting from their casts. "Remains of the Day" excels in all of these categories, as a spellbinding, faithful adaptation of the Kazuo Ishiguro novel, with Anthony Hopkins and Emma Thompson as the star-crossed would-be lovers and servants of the pacifist Nazi sympathizer Lord Darlington (James Fox). Along with elegant acting from both Hopkins and Thompson in two of their finest roles, there is splendid acting too from the likes of James Fox, Christopher Reeve, Ben Chaplin, and a young Hugh Grant as Lord Darlington's godson.

James Ivory's masterful direction takes the audience to and fro between the mid 1930s and the early 1960s, focusing our attention on the chief butler Mr. Stevens (Anthony Hopkins) and the housekeeper Miss Kenton (Emma Thompson), who gradually realize that they are attracted to each other. But alas Stevens, like his master, Lord Darlington, puts his mistaken notions of duty and honor before passion, making a decision he will find himself regretting, albeit for a brief while, years later, when he seeks out Ms. Kenton in a brief, bittersweet reunion for both. Ivory's film is a beautifully realized meditation on unrequited love, which will appeal to fans of Anthony Hopkins, Emma Thompson, and of course Merchant-Ivory films.
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The Remains of the Day (Anniversary Edition) [Blu-ray] [1993] [Region Free]
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