Film: Howard’s End
Cast includes: Vanessa Redgrave (Cradle Will Rock), Helena Bonham Carter (A Room with a View), Emma Thompson (Last Chance Harvey), Anthony Hopkins (Silence of the Lambs), Jemma Redgrave (Bramwell), Samuel West (Cambridge Spies)
Director: James Ivory (A Room with a View)
Genre: Period drama/romance (1992) based on the E.M. Forester novel
In brief: “Dear Meg. All over. Wish I had never written. Tell no one.” Helen’s telegraph arrived to late to prevent Aunt Juley from rushing out to Howard’s End to meet the Wilcox family and the young man whom Helen has written about. Months after the embarrassing misunderstanding, the Wilcox family takes a London flat, as it turns out, opposite the Schlegels… home of Meg, Helen and their brother, Tibby. Aunt Juley had it right when she said, “All the Schlegels are exceptional.” The young ladies, in particular, are effervescent, impulsive and good hearted. When Meg finally calls on the Wilcoxes, she finds Mrs. Wilcox in failing health. But determined to make her feel at home in London, Meg takes her under her wing. Mrs. Wilcox talks endlessly and lovingly about her family home at Howard’s End, and the two form a real bond. In Mrs. Wilcox’s final days, she writes a note leaving Howard’s End to Meg. But this is not to be, as the Wilcox family throws the note in the fireplace, and Meg is unaware of its existence.
This is not to be the end of Meg’s connection with the Wilcox family, however. And sister Helen, an incurable do-gooder, imposes on Mr. Wilcox for help with one of her projects… a young man she’s determine to help reach his greater potential. Mr. Wilcox is quite taken with Meg but less enthusiastic about Helen. He believes Helen has a “perverted notion of charity.” The story line might take a different direction, were it not for the unfailing good heartedness of Meg, who’s at the center of it all.
Howard’s End takes place in the early 1900s, when England (and much of the world, for that matter) is starting to develop a middle class. The old rules of relationships are hard to break. Yet they often don’t work as they once did. Still, change is slow. As Helen’s project points out, “When rich people fail at one pursuit, they can find another. But with us it’s different.” Indeed, even do-gooder Helen is slow to grasp the weight of centuries of social tradition on the emerging middle class.
3 popped kernels
Popped kernels for the acting, casting and production. An excellent period piece and nice adaption of EM's novel.