In the aftermath of the cultural juggernaut that is Downton Abbey, I was quite curious to re-visit the downstairs-downstairs production of The Remains of the Day. Focussing on the relationship between Anthony Hopkins as the repressed, perfectionist butler Stevens, and Emma Thompson as the kindly housekeeper Miss Kenton, we don’t ever really get to know Lord Darlington – which is probably not a bad thing since he’s a raving Nazi Apologist. The movie’s mostly about Stevens’ regrets; regret for failing to make a move on Miss Kenton, regret for failing to say or do anything, at all, to counter his Master’s offensive social theories.
I enjoyed it quite a bit actually, even 20 years later. It also took me back pleasantly, because 20 years ago, I even went to many of the filming locations as part of a job I was working on in the UK – in particular, Corsham Court in Wiltshire, which was home to the dining room where much of the politicking takes place.