A piercing drama of property, inheritance, and the status of things, Howards End is a perfect marriage of filmmaking and source material, and is Merchant-Ivory’s greatest achievement. The irreconcilability of the classes is given near-mythic narrative shape in Forster’s elegantly woven tale of the inelegant weaving of three very disparate groups of people living in different castes of Edwardian England.
September 03, 2016
Don’t ever make the mistake of dismissing James Ivory’s E.M. Forster adaptation Howards End as a mere “costume drama.” Yes, the characters wear corsets and evening suits and talk through manners and inheritance. But in its own way, Ivory’s film has more to say about class, love, and marriage than many other contemporary (and purportedly edgier) movies.
Ivory allows himself, despite the amount of story he has to get through, enthralling sequences of unhurried stillness and beauty that punctuate the action and enrapture the viewer… These moments of poetry and lyricism are emblematically essential to the story of Howards End, but they also constitute a luxury, aesthetically speaking, which Downton Abbey simply cannot afford.
I have seen only two Merchant-Ivory films, but both are among the finest of the entire 1990s. This is a gorgeous, lyrical film, and while I might slightly prefer The Remains of the Day, this is itself a truly great movie.
The Merchant Ivory dressing-up box at its most lushly lyrical, which wields Forster’s social scalpel with deft, if obvious, charm. For a change, less occupied with the mantel piece than with the drama in front of it, this is a straight-forwardly honest adaptation with adamant performances which provides a welcome forward trajectory to MI’s often pedestrian dawdle.
Sumptuous, deeply textured, rich character drama that comes to life thanks to an entertaining script and beautiful direction. Emma Thompson is a delight to watch, and I love how compassionate, kind and even naive her character is. Bonham Carter is a force of nature and perhaps was never this charming again. Howards End is one of the strongest cases for literary adaptations and period pieces in general. A must-see.
A lush and rousing film, but so poorly edited! Scenes end in the middle of important dialogue, entire days, weeks, months are skirted over, leaving the viewer to trust in the development of characters and relaitonships in the interim. The film feels rushed in a way Room with a View does not....but that film does not have the divine performance from goddess Emma