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Howards End

Anthony Hopkins , Emma Thompson , James Ivory    PG (Parental Guidance Suggested)   DVD
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
Price: CDN$ 62.99
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Product Description

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Howards End is E.M. Forster's beautifully subtle story of the crisscrossing paths of the privileged and those they disdain--and of a remarkable pair of women who can see beyond class distinctions. Dramatic and tragic, but also surprisingly funny, this James Ivory film focuses on a pair of unmarried sisters (Emma Thompson, who won an Oscar, and Helena Bonham Carter) who befriend a poor young clerk (Sam West) and, without meaning to, ruin his life. Meanwhile, Thompson also makes the acquaintance of a dying neighbor (Vanessa Redgrave), who leaves her a family home in her will--which her husband (Anthony Hopkins) destroys. But, ironically, he meets and falls in love with Thompson, even as their paths once more intersect with the increasingly miserable young clerk. Nuanced acting, gorgeous but muted cinematography, and a beautifully economical script by Ruth Prawer Jhabvala, which also won an Oscar. --Marshall Fine


Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
4.2 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
Format:DVD
I loved E.M. Forester's book, HOWARD'S END, so I knew I'd love this film as well. Period pieces are my favorites and English period pieces have a special "something" about them. Maybe it's the lush cinematography or the brilliant acting. I suppose it's really a combination of many things.
HOWARD'S END is set, for the most part, in London, and revolves around two families: the Schlegels and the Wilcoxes. The Schlegels and the Wilcoxes are separated by class; the Schlegels are a middle class family, comfortable, but definitely not "old money," while the Wilcoxes are far more "to the manor born." Society, at the time HOWARD'S END takes place, dictated that the Schlegels and the Wilcoxes definitely not mix. However, mix they do, with disastrous results.
In the Schlegel family are two sisters, Margaret (Emma Thompson), the older and plainer, and Helen (Helena Bonham-Carter), the younger and more beautiful. We know trouble is brewing when Helen becomes involved, though briefly, with young Paul Wilcox. Of course, the Wilcoxes consider Helen (or any Schlegel, for that matter) to be beneath them, but the affair also distresses the Schlegels as well.
The lives of the Schlegels and the Wilcoxes are destined to be intertwined, however, and Margaret befriends Ruth Wilcox (beautifully played by the always-ethereal Vanessa Redgrave), the mother of young Paul. The lives of the two families become further entwined when Ruth Wilcox dies and leaves her lovely country home, "Howard's End," to her good friend, Margaret. Of course, this doesn't sit at all well with the Wilcoxes, who are truly shocked, and Henry Wilcox (Anthony Hopkins), Ruth's husband, tries to cover up Ruth's final wishes and keep Margaret away from "Howard's End.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent story about social classes Jan. 2 2011
By Kona TOP 100 REVIEWER
Format:DVD
The story opens in Edwardian England, where we meet Margaret and Helen Schlegel (Emma Thompson, Helena Bodham Carter), genteel sisters who are concerned with the plight of the poor. When they meet a lowly clerk who is struggling to get by, they try to mentor him but their advice only makes his situation worse. Meanwhile, Margaret develops a friendship with the Wilcoxes (Anthony Hopkins, Vanessa Redgrave), a wealthy family whose country home, Howards End, will become an important part of all their lives.

Based on E. M. Forster's 1911 novel, this film is an insightful study of the social classes, their interaction (and lack thereof), and the highly structured and restrained manners that ruled society. Thompson won the Best Actress Oscar for her role, but it really is an ensemble piece and the entire cast is outstanding. The period is carefully recreated using wonderful costumes, sets, and cars and the photography is beautiful. The script (also Oscar-nominated) weaves together many seemingly unrelated characters and subplots, all building to an emotional conclusion at Howards End, which is the source of much desire, jealousy, and sorrow.

This is a thought-provoking and moving drama/tragedy. Highly recommended.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Howard's End Nov. 3 2010
Format:DVD
Excellent interpretation of the book and well cast. Had been meaning to watch this for years and was not disappointed.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Howards End Aug. 13 2013
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
I think Howards End was a great movie very well done enjoyed every moment of it ,Anthony Hopkins of course was superb.j.a.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A gorgeous film Feb. 16 2006
By FrKurt Messick HALL OF FAME TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:DVD
Ismail Merchant and James Ivory will probably be best remembered for their gorgeous productions of E.M. Forster novels, of which 'Howard's End' is second to none. How can one fail, given their winning formula of lush period settings, perfect musical accompaniment, and flawless matching of character to actor? This particular Merchant/Ivory film was nominated for countless awards, including nine Academy Awards, among them Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Actress.
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.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Perfection Personified Nov. 2 2003
By A Customer
Format:DVD
This story line is good enough to keep you in suspence and entertained at the same time. Anthony is perfect as usual. The greatest part of this story is the first glimpse into the cottage at "Howards End". Upon entering the house, the most glorious piano begins to play in the background music. The music is so hauntingly beautiful, so perfect for the setting that I found myself in tears throughout its playing. I had to have the movie, just for the piano alone.
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