We gave it an A-
Ponderous, restrained, and achingly beautiful, The Remains of the Day has long been considered one of the very best of Merchant Ivory. As an avowed hater of all things ponderous, restrained, achingly beautiful and, mostly, Merchant Ivory, I usually would have told you that isn’t saying much. Well, I was wrong. Watching this DVD made the mere thought of pan-and-scanning James Ivory’s meticulously composed 70-millimeter shots seem like sacrilege. Anthony Hopkins and Emma Thompson’s subtle, agonizing dance of lost opportunity and wasted lives suddenly seemed a minor miracle. Throw in candid commentaries — Ivory reveals everything from which scenes he cut out from under Hopkins to his problems with Harold Pinter’s version of the script — and you have a package truly worthy of a Best Picture nominee. That, and a convert. Good Lord, I might even have to watch Howards End again.