Kapil has gone back to reading (yay!) and the very first book that he read was “Remains of the Day” by Kazuo Ishiguro. I haven’t read the novel myself, but was up for the movie version starring Anthony Hopkins and Emma Thompson. How can one miss that!
The focal point of the story is slightly unusual – a middle aged butler of a British household. Mr. Stevens ( Anthony Hopkins) has served at Darlignton estate almost all his life. However, the war stirs things over and his Lord’s Nazi’s sympathies have him out of his home. Mr. Steven’s new master is an American politicion Mr. Farraday( Christopher Reeves!) . The movie opens with Farraday suggesting that Stevens take a holiday – a road trip. Stevens decides to visit the former housekeeper of Darlington Hall, Miss Keaton, and on his drive he reminices about the times under his old Master, Lord Darlignton (James Cox) before World War II.
“The Remains of the Day” is essentially a character sketch of Stevens. The central theme of the movie is the core quality of “diginity” that Stevens possesses and must possess to become a great butler. This quality is so important that it defines his relationship with his master, his staff, his father, his ability to love – his very existence. His work comes above everything else and at the price of relationships and his own happiness.
Anhtony Hopkins performance as Mr. Stevens is spot on. Without moving a muscle, is face still expresses amazing depths. One can’t help but feel sorry for Stevens by the end of the movie. Emma Thompson is the bright light in this slightly gloomy production. There are two scenes that are to watch out for – one in which they discuss a book ( extremely riveting – watch it out to find out why), and the one where they end their evening conferences. Hugh Grant makes a fleeting appearance as the Darlington’s godson.
Directed by award winning James Ivory, the movie literally takes us into the world of stuffy but luxurious world of noble English households. The movie is mostly shot indoors where the world of the domestic servants exist but there are some beautiful visuals of the English countryside.
Verdict : High quality cinema – must watch.