What parents need to know
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.
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?