A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Hard work creates success. Teamwork. Learn from your mistakes. Express your feelings. Some examples of snobbery and patronizing.
Positive Role Models
The servants at a lordly manor show dedication to their roles and their colleagues. The period setting minimizes portrayals of diversity, gender, class equality, with women and the working class portrayed as inferior to men and the upper classes. Some members of higher society talk down to the servants in a patronizing manner. A character is revealed to be a Nazi sympathizer.
Violence & Scariness
Reference to Nazi concentration camps.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Character is asked to explain sex to a younger man in a comedic scene. Kissing.
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"Jews," "gypsies," and "negros" are referred to when discussing Nazi concentration camps. Anti-Semitic attitudes expressed by some characters. "Dammit" used as an exclamation.
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Drinking and smoking, both in moderation, inside the home, after work, and at formal dinners. Character references being drunk.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that The Remains of the Day is an outstanding period drama adapted from Kazuo Ishiguro's Booker Prize-winning novel. It stars Anthony Hopkins and Emma Thompson and deals with issues of gender and class. Not surprisingly for the setting/time period, women and the working class are portrayed as being lesser than men and the upper classes. And some of Lord Darlington's (James Fox) guests talk to his staff in a rude and patronizing way. There's some discussion about "Jews," "gypsies," and "negros" in the context of Nazism in the lead up to World War II, and a character is revealed to be a Nazi sympathizer. Characters drink and smoke socially, but never to excess. One character references being drunk, but he's exaggerating and not behaving in an antisocial way. There's some kissing, and two characters briefly reference sex in a misunderstanding about "the birds and the bees." Strong language is minimal, with "dammit" as extreme as it gets. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
A stellar cast -- led by Hopkins and Thompson -- delivers a masterfully restrained story that resonates with human themes and historical significance. Much of this may be lost on younger viewers, but, even on its surface, The Remains of the Day is deftly acted and unfolds to show both the horror of WWII in a nongraphic way and how rigid power structures and working conditions cause people to act in a way they later regret.
The characters are all sympathetic, even when they're in conflict with one another -- their humanity and goodwill toward each other is what drives the story forward, rather than a specific "goal" that needs to be achieved. This is a study of the resolution of a relationship between two former colleagues who are unsure about how to act on their feelings for each other. It's a timeless tale with a nostalgic rather than depressing tone. Fans of Downton Abbey will find much to enjoy in this British classic.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.