Howards End


(out of 5)

The team at Merchany Ivory productions complete their E.M. Forster trilogy after A Room With A View and Maurice and save the best for last with this phenomenally good drama (which was also Forster’s best novel). Three sets of families, one upper class, one middle and one lower, all have interactions, confrontations and clashes in some way connected to the titular English country cottage. Headstrong and bohemian, the bourgeois Schlegel sisters are as different as sisters can be: Margaret (, in the role that brought her deserved acclaim and stardom) is sociable and wise, reserved and cerebral, at first befriending the aging Mrs. Wilcox (a heavenly ) and eventually her wealthy industrialist husband (). Her sister Helen (, more spirited than ever before) is passionate and impetuous, taking a poor desk clerk () under her wing and taking full responsibility when her financial advice does him a bad turn. Ruth Prawer Jhabvala’s screenplay adaptation is flawless, Tony Pierce-Roberts’s cinematography incredibly beautiful, and Luciana Arrighi’s stunning production design brings out the opulence of the period with incredibly strong life. I first saw this film as an inexperienced fourteen year-old, the first great film I’d ever watched in my entire life; twenty years later, after experiencing everything else that cinema masterpieces have to offer, it hasn’t lost a single bit of its quality or appeal.

United Kingdom/Japan, 1992

Directed by

Screenplay by , based on the novel by

Cinematography by

Produced by

Music by

Production Design by

Costume Design by ,

Film Editing by

Film Festivals:  Cannes 1992

The Criterion Collection

Cast Tags:  , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,, , , , , , , , , , ,,

Academy Awards
Best Actress in a Leading Role (Emma Thompson as “Margaret Schlegel”)
Best Art Direction (art direction: Luciana Arrighi; set decoration: Ian Whittaker)
Best Writing (Screenplay Based on Material Previously Produced or Published) (Ruth Prawer Jhabvala)

Best Actress in a Supporting Role (Vanessa Redgrave as “Ruth Wilcox”)
Best Cinematography (Tony Pierce-Roberts)
Best Costume Design (Jenny Beavan, John Bright)
Best Directing (James Ivory)
Best Music (Original Score) (Richard Robbins)
Best Picture (Ismail Merchant, producer)

Golden Globe Award
Best Performance By An Actress in a Motion Picture-Drama (Emma Thompson)

Best Motion Picture-Drama
Best Director (James Ivory)
Best Screenplay (Ruth Prawer Jhabvala)

New York Film Critics Award
Best Actress (Emma Thompson)

Best Film
Best Director (James Ivory)

Los Angeles Film Critics Award Nomination
Best Actress (Emma Thompson)

National Society of Film Critics Award
Best Actress (Emma Thompson)

Best Supporting Actress (Vanessa Redgrave)

National Board Of Review Awards
Best Film
Best Actress (Emma Thompson)
Best Director (James Ivory)

Writers Guild Award Nomination
Best Adapted Screenplay

Directors Guild Award Nomination
Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Motion Pictures (James Ivory)

Independent Spirit Award Nomination
Best Foreign Film

British Academy Awards
Best Film
Best Actress (Emma Thompson)

Best Actor in a Supporting Role (Samuel West)
Best Actress in a Supporting Role (Helena Bonham Carter)
Best Direction (James Ivory)
Best Screenplay – Adapted
Best Cinematography
Best Costume Design
Best Editing
Best Production Design
Best Make Up Artist

Cesar Award Nomination
Best Foreign Film

Boston Film Critics Award
Best Actress (Emma Thompson)



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