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Based on E.M. Forster's 1910 novel, Howards End is a masterful Edwardian Age romance. Directed by James Ivory, the film was adapted for screen by Ruth Prawer Jhabvala, who won the Academy Award for Best Screenplay for this work. Emma Thompson also won an Academy Award for her performance in the character of Margaret Schlegel.
The story revolves around the Schlegel sisters, Margaret and Helen, and their involvement with various characters including a ruthless businessman and his dying wife, and a down-on-his-luck day clerk. Margaret is the sensible sister, caring but careful, while Helen is the idealist, out to save the world, without realising how condescending she can be in attempting to do so. Their brother is almost an afterthought in the story. Margaret is portrayed by Emma Thompson, veteran Shakespearean and British actress; Helen is played by Merchant-Ivory veteran Helena Bonham Carter. Other players include Oscar-winner Anthony Hopkins, James Wilby (also in other Merchant-Ivory productions), Samuel West, and the great Vanessa Redgrave. (Look for Prunella Scales, best known as Sybil Fawlty from 'Fawlty Towers' in what might be described as an extended cameo role.)
The characters show some of the principal social class divisions of late Victorian/Edwardian England. The Wilcoxes are a successful business family, unlettered and conservative; the Schlegels are genteel aristocrats with an idealistic bent but slowly declining economic fortunes; the Basts are underprivileged but yearning for more.Read more ›
The story aside, I would like to add, if you are living abroad, like me, and/or you love the splendour of the British countryside in the spring (bluebell woods, chestnut and May blossom, lush, green meadows...)I believe this would be enough reason to buy this film. The scenery is quite breathtaking.