I’ve been watching… The Remains of the Day

25-odd years ago, I read The Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro: so exquisitely written, so reserved yet bursting with emotion, it brought tears to my eyes. Ishiguro, who won the Nobel Literature Prize in 2017, shares insights about his book here: The Remains of the Day – Ishiguro.

Last night, I watched the movie of the same title, starring Anthony Hopkins (as Stevens) and Emma Thompson (as Miss Kenton). It was utterly faithful to the book yet added another dimension to that which I had already imagined.

Both book and movie are sensual in the most British, understated way possible. Regret speaks loudly through looks and gestures but never through words to those who matter most. Stubbornness shows itself as both foolish and a waste of time, and a strength that allows a man or woman to attain a freedom of sorts. Mistakes are made. Behind the scenes, with its tentacles surfacing from time to time, is the violence of the world beyond the calm stone walls of Darlington Hall. And we are shown that life is like a bus: if you don’t jump on, it will just pass you by and, as T S Eliot said, you will end, like Prufrock, saying, ‘I have measured out my life with coffee spoons’ (The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock) and, ‘Not with a bang but a whimper’ (The Hollow Men).

This movie is superb, and I am sure Ishiguro would agree it does his novel proud.

It was only after looking the movie up on Google that I discovered it was made 25 years ago: in 1993. I was a little shocked until I realised that, of course, Anthony Hopkins and Emma Thompson were exactly the same then as they are now – minus a few wrinkles, I suppose. Because both actors were and still are perfectly timeless in their roles.

Here’s a great little review of the movie that includes a trailer that gives you some idea of what to expect: Review: The Remains of the Day

I really recommend you watch it.

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