Every film from Roger Ebert's "Great Movies" essays.
A businessman thwarts his wife's bequest of an estate to another woman.
“I think about my house a great deal. You’ve never seen Howards End. I want to show it to you.”
One likes what one likes, oftentimes without knowing why. Quality is important, to be sure, and can cut through antagonistic predispositions. But attraction is something ineffable and frequently inexplicable. You may not be able to say what it is you love about the object of your affection, but of that love you have no doubt.
For a long time, I couldn’t say precisely why I loved Howards End. Perhaps it was its European literary vintage and the sheen of sophistication it offered. Perhaps it was the precision of the plotting, with threads interweaving and resolving like clockwork without seeming forced…
Film #25 of Project 90
”They are British to the backbone, of course, but their father was German, which is why they care for literature and art.”
An excellently made British period drama set in the early days of Twentieth century which focuses on the life of various characters from different social classes, as a literary adaptation it is filled with numerous details and dozens of complex and lively characters who are all part of a big network of events and Howards End’s main achievement is that it succeeds in creating a very enjoyable and well-structured story which is very similar in tone and pace to the overall structure of a prestigious literary work. James Ivory enjoyed this experience so…
"The poor are poor. One feels sorry for them, but there it is." ~ Henry Wilcox
This was the third Merchant/Ivory adaptation of an E.M. Forster novel and the most successful one of the bunch. It earned over $70 million against a budget of just $8 million and garnered nine Academy Award nominations, including wins for Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Art Direction and Best Actress (Emma Thompson).
The story brings together three families in an allegory representing the decline of classism in Britain. The Wilcox family represents the old, landed upper-class, still focused on empire-building and preserving social order at the turn of the 20th century. The Schlegels are the educated and progressive middle-class, concerned with philanthropy and social causes,…
**Part of the Best Picture Project**
I didn't see this coming. After coming off mostly cold to A Room with a View, this feels like the complete polar opposite. Astonishingly well directed, written so that it's appropriately tragic while also self aware in the hilarity of it all (something period films tend to miss). Everyone is firing on all cylinders, but it's Emma Thompson who is Queen here. It's a testament to how awesome she is here that every time she was off screen I was just waiting for us to return to her.
It's not "Howard's", it's "Haaard's". Being an absolute linguaphile, it delights my ears to hear people speak with such marvellous enunciation, every word handled as though a valuable piece of fine china. Because one must conduct oneself with an air of respectability, mustn't one? The costumes and set designs are just as decadent as the dialogue, crafting a very convincing film visually that wonderfully evokes the period setting. It's quite an interesting class commentary that takes a little too long to get going, but once it does it's always very enjoyable, and surprisingly funny. Thompson is a treat, as ever, and there's not a weak link in the rest of the cast. Too long and a little short of real depth, it's at least eminently watchable, and a true delight for anyone who finds themselves seduced by sumptuous language.
Howards End is a quiet yet powerful drama that tackles so many issues at so many levels. Every person that I have ever discussed the novel with has had a different interpretation of it; oddly enough, it has always seemed to me that we were all right. There is so much going on in the fully dimensional lives of these wonderful (and sometimes not-so wonderful) characters. I was beyond happy to find that the film managed to capture much of what was so important to us in the novel.
I first saw the film in 1993 and have seen it many times since. It is one of those dramas that can leave you speechless at its end, despite a wonderful…
Certainly a beautiful portrayal of the era but left me cold - probably in small part due because of the slow pacing but mainly it was just the story that I couldn't connect with. Not my cup of tea but it made me want to drink one.
I really enjoyed this movie. It was really interesting to see how everything comes back around, and little events make big differences. It also toys with the idea of fate, and how things will sometimes end up just as they need to, even if the way of getting there changes dramatically. Very cool themes involved in this story.
Great movie. Great actors. Great thoughts about art, society and class. 100% recommended. The characters are amazingly portrait.
A movie adaptation of a novel that really feels like a novel, with intricate character plotting and no fear of the batch of relationship crisscrossing that such novels contain. It's a large metaphor for the British class relations of the time, and it's thoroughly entertaining.
Merchant-Ivory in my experience are never better than when adapting EM Forster and this film yields that to remain true. It's additionally odd to think that they seem to be the only people capable of converting his original writings into even competent cinema. Narratively the film doesn't quite achieve the punchey dynamism of Maurice and the playful vulgarity of A Room with a View, but trades those in for possibly the best camerawork and performance in their whole career. On the first level the film doesn't just have their typical handsomeness, but also plays with movements both of mis-en-scene and camera that just dances. Sometimes to good humour but most effective surprisingly in the dramatic instances. The opening entry onto…
"All the Schlegels are exceptional. They are British to the backbone, of course, but their father was German, which is why they care for literature and art."
Definitely a big fan of this movie. Everyone is on point like you wouldn't believe, Vanessa Redgrave and Helena Bonham Carter in particular are exceptional. It's a little weird, then, that I watched this movie with Emma Thompson's award-winning performance as the catalyst. She was more than fine, great at times, even, but nothing so extraordinary, in my opinion.
Howards End itself is a great piece of period film, a drama that knows the audaciousness and eccentricity of its era. It's been directed and shot very well, beautiful and structurally sound. Truly, this is wonderfully well-rounded.
Actress Rating: ***
What are other equivalents to the unique narrative bounty of Howards End? Other Merchant/Ivory productions like A Room with a View and Maurice (both impeccable in their own right) have recognizable conflicts and alliances. We know when and how to respond to what’s going on. But Howards End is different. We stand by conflicted while characters make compromises and go back on who we thought they were. Those who fall, fall hard, and those left are happy in a bittersweet sort of way. But it’s inaccurate to use the word happy. Happy and sad, light and dark aren’t exactly visible through lines here. It’s all way more complicated. All the characters besides Vanessa Redgrave, who moonlights over the proceedings as…
While Helena Bonham Carter has made a career out of playing wacky characters, seeing her playing more of a normal character is a revelation. She is actually a really fine actress and feels rather like Jo (from Louisa May Alcott's book Little Women) in an early-1900s setting.
The story of Howards End is intertwined with family social status and economical differences, and lots of dialogue, and slow moving scenes, and general awkwardness. But it is oh-so-glorious in action.
It is a movie that, because of it's pacing and length, requires a deal of patience, but the subtle textures it paints is quite worthwhile.
Great actor work, but not loyal to the book. Too much suffering, too much love. The book is about lovelessness and connections without any emotions.
- 12 Angry Men
- 2001: A Space Odyssey
- 25th Hour
- 3 Women
- The Racket
- 7th Heaven
- Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans
- Chang: A Drama of the Wilderness
Every film that has ever been nominated for an Academy Award in any category. Enjoy!
- Grand Illusion
- Seven Samurai
- The Lady Vanishes
- The 400 Blows
The entire Criterion collection organized by spine number.
I don't know why I did this.
Number I've Seen: 168/753