Projections - Movie Reviews

Howard's End

Director James Ivory, so successful with E.M. Forester's A Room With a View, tries again by bringing his book, Howard's End to the screen.

Howard's End is the name of Mrs. Wilcox's (Vanessa Redgrave) English country manor.  On her death bed, unbeknownst to her husband, Henry (Anthony Hopkins) and children, she writes a note leaving it to her neighbor, Margaret (Emma Thompson - Dead Again) whom she hardly knew.  The Wilcoxes destroy the note and promise not to speak of their mother's wishes to anyone.

Margaret and her younger sister, Helen (Helena Bonham Carter - Hamlet) live with their brother, a university student, nearby.  They're intelligent, modern and chatty; to use their own words, they're "overly expressive".

Helen gets involved with a young clerk and his wife, a working class couple down on their luck.  She takes them on as her personal cause, and when Margaret becomes engaged to Henry, she enlists his help.  However, Henry, a self-absorbed, wealthy businessman turns down her solicitations.

The film is filled with rich, diverse characters, but Thompson and Carter stand out in an ensemble cast that's superb.

Set in England at the turn of the century, the costumes and furnishings are lavish; however, the flowers and formal gardens in dazzling bloom, steal the show.  This is a beautifully photographed, well acted, amusing story of a kindler, gentler era.

Howard's End

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