Alternate Title: British Problems
Based on what I can only assume is an extremely English novel by E.M. Forster, Howards End is named after a home in England. Apparently, people used to be so fond of their homes that they would give them names.
An elderly woman dies, leaving her beloved house to a new neighbor, Margaret Schlegel (Emma Thompson). Of course, Margaret or Meg as she’s known to her family, doesn’t find out about this. Instead, the widowed husband, Henry Wilcox (Anthony Hopkins) proposes to Margaret and marries her.
Meanwhile, a young struggling man named Leonard (Samuel West) is taken in by Margaret and her sister, Helen (Helena Bonham Carter). Leonard and his wife, Jacky (Nicola Duffett) are advised at every turn by the sisters, who accidentally lead Leonard astray with some professional guidance. Even more unfortunately, Leonard and Helen become a little too friendly and this further complicates some already complicated relationships.
It’s hard to relate to British upper class unless you’re part of it; just in case I was fooling any of you, I’m not even a little bit part of the British upper class (Gotcha). When you live in an apartment in Chicago, it can be difficult to feel too much empathy for stuffy British people who are scandalized by trivial difficulties. That said, the acting is superb since the cast is English and I’m always game to listen to British accents for prolonged periods of time.
Now it’s Your Turn…
Howards End was nominated for Best Picture in 1992, but did the Academy get it right?