The Remains of the Day Movie Review
The Remains of the Day is a 1993 drama film directed by James Ivory and starring Anthony Hopkins and Emma Thompson. It is an acclaimed, but to me such a disappointing movie.
The plot is quite good here and its themes in particular are great. I loved the critique of aristocrats and especially British people and their cold behavior and calculated mannerisms that can affect their lives in a negative way. I liked that quite a bit and it is such a powerful, very important subject matter because it is a big issue for this nation. And there is nothing worse than not being able to emotionally connect with people.
However, all of those great themes are unfortunately executed in a mediocre way. The Remains of the Day becomes like its protagonist himself – cold and distant. That was unfortunate and really frustrating for me as I like more heartwarming films. And yes, the ending had that great scene, but for the most part, the film is very cold and emotionally distant. And it is above all excruciatingly slow paced and just dull. I was honestly bored from beginning to end as there isn’t any energy in its execution. And it lacks heart, as I said earlier.
I get the protagonist and his issue, but I still really disliked him and I think he should have been given better treatment. Miss Kenton is better, but even she isn’t that great as her story really took way too long to take off. And the other characters are all either forgettable or tedious.
The acting is one of the strongest aspects in The Remains of the Day. The acting duo of Anthony Hopkins and Emma Thompson is just fantastic as both are such great actors. And they both did such a great job here. I wouldn’t call this performance one of his best, but Hopkins is excellent in it. And Emma Thompson is really fantastic as well.
The dialogue is very disappointing. It is never as sophisticated as the script needed it and there is too much focus on politics which is unnecessary as the focus should have been put on characters and their problems. They get good treatment in the third act, but by that point, it was too late. The tone is also too dreary and the directing is okay, but should have been better. The pacing is of course bad as the film is very slow and very boring. And it is such a weak execution of a potentially very good screenplay.
It received eight Academy Award nominations and I definitely agree about the acting nods as both actors did a great job here. But all of the other nominations are thoroughly undeserved and The Remains of the Day is most certainly an overrated, very disappointing movie to me. I expected so much from it, but I was let down because it is mainly just dull.