Howards End Movie Poster Image

Howards End



British class conflict; ok for older teens.
  • Review Date: August 24, 2005
  • Rated: PG
  • Genre: Drama
  • Release Year: 1992
  • Running Time: 143 minutes

What parents need to know

Positive messages

Characters have affairs, tampering with wills -- and there is class conflict.

Not applicable

A sexual affair and an out-of-wedlock pregnancy feature in the plot.

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Drinking, drugs, & smoking
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Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this period drama set in Edwardian England features sexual affairs, deceit, class bias and an out of wedlock pregnancy.

Kids say

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What's the story?

Adapted from E. M. Forster's novel, HOWARD'S END tells the story of Margaret Schlegel (Emma Thompson) and her sister Helen (Helena Bonham Carter), intellectual, liberal women living in 1910 England. When the rich Wilcoxes move next door, a friendship develops between Mrs. Wilcox and Margaret. When Mrs. Wilcox dies, she leaves her home, Howard's End, to Margaret. But the Wilcox family disregards her request. Time passes and Mr. Wilcox (Anthony Hopkins) and Margaret become engaged. This upsets Helen, since Wilcox offered disastrous job advice to her poor friend, Leonard Bast. Margaret's efforts to coax Wilcox into helping Leonard end abruptly when it's revealed that Leonard's low-class wife and Wilcox were once lovers. Helen's interest in the married Leonard turns romantic and she flees, pregnant with his child. Wilcox refuses to support Helen, despite his own indiscreet past. This hypocrisy leads to a confrontation, which ultimately brings Howard's End back into Margaret's hands, just as Mrs. Wilcox willed it.

Is it any good?


In this intricate tale of love, hope, and cruelty, three families from different backgrounds find themselves intertwined in a complicated plot that will grip older kids and parents alike. If the story seems a bit complex, rest assured that the two-and-a-half-hour running time offers plenty of opportunity for confused teens to catch up. However, some of this material will be difficult for them to grasp. Discussions about classical music or pacifist ideology may elude all but the most mature viewers. And the delicate way that relationships develop, particularly that of Margaret and Mr. Wilcox, is perhaps too understated for kids to pick up on.

Still, the impeccable acting alone is enough reason to stay glued to the screen. Emma Thompson won a well-deserved Oscar for her portrayal of Margaret, and Anthony Hopkins, Vanessa Redgrave and Helena Bonham Carter are equally convincing and entertaining to watch.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the class issues raised in the plot. How does our society compare to the one featured here? Do we have social classes in America?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:March 13, 1992
DVD release date:June 19, 2001
Cast:Anthony Hopkins, Emma Thompson, Helena Bonham Carter
Director:James Ivory
Studio:Columbia Tristar
Topics:Book characters
Run time:143 minutes
MPAA rating:PG
MPAA explanation:Parental Guidance Suggested

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Parent of a 13 year old Written byTsion March 15, 2009

An Engaging and SUPERBLY Acted Melodrama...

HOWARDS END suffers from a lackluster opening and an infuriatingly slow pace. However, about 40 minutes in, it finds its footing as an engaging, superbly acted, and well-written melodrama. Oh, and I must mention the score; it's simply brilliant, as are the stars (especially Hopkins and Thompson, who is quickly becoming one of my favorite actresses). Language consists of two "damns". Violence is mild, with some punches being thrown and a man is hacked at with a sword. Sex is the biggest issue in the movie, but is still on the milder side. Couples are seen kissing passionately, and mention is made of various love affairs (some overtly sexual (not seen) and some extra-marital (SPOILER: A married man impregnates Helena Bonham Carter)). I will say 14+ on this simply because kids won't enjoy it. I know that for a fact. Most teens won't either. There's nothing in this that anyone over 11 hasn't seen in TV or movies before, but they won't be interested.


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