In director James Ivory's The REMAINS OF THE DAY, Anthony Hopkins
plays James Stevens, the head of the household staff in a large English
country home before and after WW II. Stevens has a religious
dedication to his job that is awe inspiring. You might want to
question at times why he is so dedicated, nevertheless, you have to be
impressed at someone who would give himself over body and soul to his
job. His private life was of no importance. Serving his master, Lord
Darlington (James Fox), was all important. This was true every minute
of every day.
Emma Thompson played Sally Kenton, the head housekeeper. Kenton
was Stevens's peer in the hierarchy of the household. She also grew to
love Stevens. Stevens, on the other hand, was already married - to his
I thought Anthony Hopkins gave an academy award winning
performance and Emma Thompson's performance was not far behind. The
other actors and actresses in the show were fine, but nothing special.
To put my review in context, I saw HOWARDS END, where these two great
stars last appeared together, and found it only mildly interesting.
Here, their every scene was compelling.
I found the movie very peaceful and extremely serene. I am sure
others will see the movie and think it depressing or get angry that
Stevens was unable to break the chains that bound him. I found it a
fascinating portrait of a person who made a commitment in life and
stuck to it without (almost any) question forever. I suspect many
monks are not even this dedicated.
Copyright © 1993 Steve Rhodes