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Critic's Pick

'The Remains of the Day'

November 20, 1994|Kenneth Turan

This Merchant-Ivory production is a beautifully melancholy romance between people who point-blank refuse to acknowledge emotional attachments and, constricted by an unwritten professional code, can't even bring themselves to address each other by first names. While the thought of all this decorous self-denial between a butler and a housekeeper in one of England's great houses in the days before World War II may sound uninvolving, the 1993 film is the opposite. It is a moving and carefully modulated picture that overcomes a certain innate stodginess. And it offers acting from Anthony Hopkins and Emma Thompson (both pictured) that is little short of miraculous (Cinemax Friday at 8 p.m.).

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