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Past Films

Howards End (1992)

  • Starring: Anthony Hopkins, Vanessa Redgrave, Helena Bonham Carter, Emma Thompson
  • Director: James Ivory
  • Genre(s): Drama, Romance
  • Rating: PG
  • Running Time: 142 min.

One of Merchant Ivory’s undisputed masterpieces, this adaptation of E.M. Forster’s classic 1910 novel is a saga of class relations and changing times in Edwardian England. Margaret Schlegel (Emma Thompson) and her sister Helen (Helena Bonham Carter) become involved with two couples: a wealthy, conservative industrialist (Anthony Hopkins) and his wife (Vanessa Redgrave), and a working-class man (Samuel West) and his mistress (Niccola Duffet). The interwoven fates and misfortunes of these three families and the diverging trajectories of the two sisters’ lives are connected to the ownership of Howards End, a beloved country home. A compelling, brilliantly acted study of one woman’s struggle to maintain her ideals and integrity in the face of Edwardian society’s moribund conformist values.

"A can't-miss opportunity to experience some of the finest filmmaking of the 20th century."
- Barry Hertz, Globe and Mail
"An enticing, elegant pleasure, alive with light and talk."
- Alan Scherstuhl, Village Voice
"E. M. Forster's Howards End makes a most compelling drama, perhaps the best film made during the 30-year partnership of Ismail Merchant and James Ivory."
- Variety
"The performances are impeccable, but honours go to Thompson, who manages to make Margaret's saintliness actually seem seductive."
- Mark Sanderson, Time Out
"Merchant and Ivory have regathered many of the cast and crew from their earlier films to work on this reproduction to exquisite effect."
- Rita Kempley, Washington Post
"A film seething with anger, passion, greed and emotional violence. That the characters are generally well-behaved says less about their manners than their inhibitions."
- Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times
"Elegant and powerful, accommodating collisions of class and temperament with the grace of a perfect Edwardian hostess, Howards End is the work to which all Merchant Ivory's other films have pointed and aspired."
- Richard Corliss, TIME Magazine
"Howards End provides more than enough in the way of production values-impeccable set decoration, elaborate costumes, beautiful locations and exquisite cinematography-to keep its primary audience entertained."
- Dave Kehr, Chicago Tribune