Wednesday, 13 July 2016

''The Remains of the Day'' (1993 film)- Review

Directed by: James Ivory
Released: 1993
Country: United Kingdom, United States

Genre: Drama

Rating: 5 out of 5


''The Remains of the Day'' is set in Darlington Hall, a large English country house, and the central characters are the butler of the household, Mr Stevens, played by Anthony Hopkins, and the housekeeper Miss Kenton, played by Emma Thompson. Mr Stevens has worked as a butler all his life, and is a man with a serious composure, almost never expressing his feelings. The comparatively openhearted Miss Kenton finds it odd that Mr Stevens never expresses his feelings. But the middle-aged man thinks that a man in his profession should solely focus on his work, properly serving his employers. Miss Kenton, with the the passage of time, finds herself developing feelings for Mr Stevens, feelings which the man could have perhaps been able to return had it not been for his strict dedication to his work.

The story of Mr Stevens and Miss Kenton is told along with a number of subplots concerning the household of which they are a part. A major portion of the film is set in the mid-1930s and Lord Darlington's (the owner of Darlington Hall, played by James Fox) political views- which would eventually make him despised by everybody over the course of the years- is an important subplot. Minor subplots include one about Lord Darlington's nephew, played by a young Hugh Grant, and a very minor subplot concerning the affair of one of the maids of the house. All these subplots help in the weaving of the gentle main plot concerning Mr Stevens and Miss Kenton, as they witness all the incidents happening in the house. 

Miss Kenton. Mr Stevens. These are two characters that you start caring for. The plot and the character development are so very good, and the best thing about all these is that these developments happen gently, slowly, giving us the opportunity to properly get to know the two characters. Emma Thompson's quiet performance is extraordinary, while Anthony Hopkins is perfect as Mr Stevens, making the character believable. Ruth Prawer Jhabvala's screenplay is brilliant, it really is. The developments of the characters and the story are done so very well.

 The film is as simple as it can be but this very simplicity is beautiful and heartbreaking. At the end of the day, we are left with a film that is simple and gentle yet extraordinarily powerful. ''The Remains of the Day'' is a beautiful film.

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