Parents' Guide to

Howards End

By Randy White, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 13+

Excellent book-based tale of British class conflict.

Movie PG 1992 143 minutes
Howards End Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

Community Reviews

age 14+

Based on 2 parent reviews

age 13+

A hit and a miss

A meandering screenplay and film that feels like it is adapted from an English novel (but without the bounce of Austen). I was not a fan of the self-importance of everyone in this film and although Thompson won an Academy Award, I cannot say that I agree. I am a big fan of Thompson, but I was not invested in her or Bonham-Carter or frankly anyone else in this sprawling epic-style film. I guess i only cared to know what happened to Jacky Bast after her husband is no longer available to take care of her, but with all of its posturing about lower classes, it feels like her pain is tossed by the wayside...too bad.
age 14+

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.

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (2 ):
Kids say (1 ):

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.

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