Somewhat bewildered that this movie received such high acclaim. Emma Thomson acted superbly, but Hopkins was exhausting as the utterly robotic stereotype charicature of a butler. Definitely not worth your time. As for the political intrique: Well known and tragic for anybody with some knowledge of WWII.
Watched this movie, might I say, during the remains of the day I finished the novel. It is quite a good adaptation of the novel, with few adjustments that one must made when taking a book to the big screen. It doesn't affect the general quality of the story though. I even quite enjoyed a few passage that were words for words. The cast and director have their reputation that speaks for themselves. Very good work. If you read the book, I suggest you watch this movie. If you saw the movie, I suggest you read the book. If you did neither one, I suggest you get on with it.
Acting, writing, cinematography, all great. The acting, especially, is stunning, and it's a deep, meaningful film.