The Remains of the Day

by jennine on November 6, 2009

the remains of the day

Last night, I watched The Remains of the Daya movie that’s been on my list forever, and when I say forever, pretty much for the last 16 years. It was probably one of the most emotionally frustrating films I’ve ever seen. When it came out I remember a friend saying about the film, that you couldn’t cut through the sexual tension and repression with a chainsaw. Which pretty much sums it up. Based on the novel of the same title by Kazuo Ishiguro, a Japanese born British author, I could understand how he could critique English culture with an almost cartoonish amount of repression, not to say the Japanese aren’t culturally repressed though I personally, know nothing about that. But the English make repression an art form, as from my years spent in London, I’ve often heard Brits joke amongst themselves that they often need copious amounts of alcohol to overcome their inherent repressive ways. However, on various levels,  we’re all unable to say how we feel, what we’re thinking, and it’s pretty universal to have experienced one situation where you had strong feelings and cannot express them for whatever reason.

Back when The Remains of the Day came out, Emma Thompson was probably one of the hottest actresses amongst indie film lovers and Anthony Hopkins still really creeped me out from Silence of the Lambs. I couldn’t think of him in any kind of romantic role, but heard he was amazing in it. This film, set between the 1950’s with flashbacks to pre-WWII England, delves into the lives of a butler and a housekeeper who maintain a professional relationship, even though they’re in love. There’s also a second layer to the story of working for a man with Nazi sympathies, so there are a lot of questions of loyalty,  professionalism and fear.

The past few weeks I’ve been on a ‘movies set in the 1930’s’ kick… watching La Vie en Rose, Frances and now The Remains of the Day. Since my favorite movie is Chinatown, there might be some kind of pattern here. I really love the modest dresses, the gorgeous fingerwaved bobs (why can’t my hair do that?) and the cloche hats. I also love the menswear, the sharp suits, with tweeds, and plaids… it just looks so sharp, and in context of the time, so beautiful.

Oh…and get a load of this… my two favorite things, braids AND embellished jackets…gorgeous….Untitled-6

{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Retro Chick November 6, 2009 at 11:42 am

I read this book for my A-Level English Literature and I loved it.

I still haven’t seen the film though, I think I loved the quiet, understated nature of the book so much I’m a bit afraid the film might let me down.

Maybe I’ll give it a go….
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2 violetville November 6, 2009 at 11:54 am

it goes without saying by now that i love this era of fashion!
the braid in that last photo is inspirational - i wonder if i can do that with my mop?
i’ve *not* seen this movie, though it’s something i would probably love and mull over for ages.
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3 Princess Poochie November 6, 2009 at 11:56 am

I adore this movie and I have to say it is one of the few movies that are even better than the book. So much of what is expressed is through mannerisms and facial expressions, especially from Anthony Hopkins (that scene in his study with the book is genius) that I felt the tension far more when viewing it on screen. It may be the movie that solidified my enduring crush on him.

It is a movie I can not watch with out tearing my heart out for the characters.
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4 jennine November 6, 2009 at 12:52 pm

❤ retrochick…oooh i know what you mean, often times i’m dissapointed with a book to film translation, but this film is pretty darn good.
❤ violetville… i know! you have so many great pieces from this time…and i’ve sen you with the braids, it looks awesome, maybe you can add a hair piece?
❤ princess…whew! i was wondering how they were going to describe the crushing glances of despair between each other!


5 patti November 6, 2009 at 1:49 pm

Oh, I love that movie! Happy you enjoyed it!
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6 Carla November 6, 2009 at 2:35 pm

I LOVE The Remains of the Day and wish I had it on DVD. There’s always Netflix! Thanks for the reminder for me to see it again. After reading your review, I will see it a different light this time around.
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7 39th & Broadway November 7, 2009 at 2:28 pm

This is one of my all time favorite movies, I have seen it too many times to count. Besides the great acting and depth of story line, I just fell in love with that house. The turq walls, with the moldings, and grand staircase….kills me!
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8 Eyeliah November 8, 2009 at 2:21 pm

looks good, I’ve been watching lots of movies this week (since I was sick). I will add this one to my long list of to sees. :-)


9 Rose November 9, 2009 at 4:30 pm

Hello- what a lovely blog. This film is perfection- it’s so heartbreakingly well done, every inch of it so well measured that I never fail to be pulled in. The first time I saw it I couldn’t stop watching. Ishiguro is the most wonderful writer and this is a perfect adaptation.


10 smilla November 12, 2009 at 1:56 am

this is a nice blog, ‘happy I found it!!
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