Top positive review
A question of balance
on 14 October 2017
Superbly produced and acted. The butler Stevens is harshly portrayed as an incomplete person, uninterested in human relations (Miss Kenton) and politics (the Hitler threat) and obsessed by the need to "be of service". Just let me put in a word for poor old Stevens and his seemingly ridiculous obsession with the correct positions of the plates and knives and forks on the dinner table.
Most of our great professions (medicine, engineering, law etc.) depend on a precise attention to detail. Human relations and politics are fine in themselves but they can be distractions. If we are taken into an operating theatre or get on board a passenger plane, we would be uneasy if the surgeon or pilot were giving a big slice of his/her attention to emotional attachments or worrying about Trump or Brexit.
It is all a question of balance. Kishiguru deserves credit for getting us to think about this. E.M.Forster did the same sort of thing a few generations earlier.