The Remains of the Day

remains of the dayI’ve never reviewed Merchant Ivory’s classic masterpiece, The Remains of the Day here on Reel Charlie.  I’m battling an awful stomach virus this week so I’m not sure how lengthy or coherent this will be but here goes. Based on Kazuo Ishiguro’s acclaimed third novel which won the Man Booker Prize in 1989, The Remains of the Day is more than anything else, the most serious of the quartet of perfect films produced between 1985 and 1993 by Merchant Ivory which includes A Room with a View, Maurice and Howards End. All four films deal with serious matters, but the other three have occasional light-hearted moments. Remains never veers from stoic, reserved and serious throughout thanks to a stunning performance by Anthony Hopkins as Mr. Stevens the butler of Darlington Hall. Hopkins along with Emma Thompson create a world where class clashes with pre-WWII politics in the most delicious way. Kudos to the team who defined British period costume drama – Art Direction by John Ralph and Set Decoration by Ian Whittaker. The Remains of the Day defines nuance. It is essential viewing. 5 out of 5 for this glorious tribute to a bygone era.

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