A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Themes of class conflict, of wealth inequity between the rich and poor in Edwardian England. People who are actually virtuous contrasted with those who merely pretend to be but are actually hypocrites.
Positive Role Models
On the whole, characters are representatives of their socioeconomic class in Edwardian England. Helen Schlegel is a suffragette, believing in equality of the sexes and the right for women to vote (a radical idea for the time), and is unafraid to voice her convictions to those more conservative than she.
Violence & Scariness
Spoiler alert: It's revealed later that an older man had an extramarital affair with a 16-year-old girl; the woman, upon seeing the man many years later, gets drunk on wine and confronts him about it, still clearly distraught over what would be considered statutory rape in many places today. Some punches, a man struck with the dull side of a sword. A man getting attacked with fists and a sword is knocked into a bookcase; the bookcase falls on top of him and he dies.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
A sexual affair and an out-of-wedlock pregnancy feature in the plot.
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"Damn" used a couple times.
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Cigar, cigarette, and pipe smoking throughout. Wine drinking at dinner and formal occasions. A woman drinks wine to excess and becomes extremely drunk and belligerent.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Howards End is a 1992 romantic drama based on the novel by E.M. Forster. There's talk of sexual and extramarital affairs and liaisons, including mention of a past affair between a 16-year-old girl and a married and much older man. Upon seeing this older man at a social event 10 years later, the woman proceeds to get extremely drunk and belligerent, clearly upset by what happened. There's some violence, including a man being killed after he's punched and then struck with the dull side of a sword before falling into a large bookcase that falls on top of him. Pipe, cigar, and cigarette smoking are shown. Overall, the movie's slower pace and adult themes make this best for teens and adults, who might use it as a starting point to discuss how the movie conveys relations between the sexes and economic classes during Edwardian England, and what has and hasn't changed since that time. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
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.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.