This magnificent adaptation of E.M. Forster's novel from Merchant and Ivory concerns the loves and class struggles of three families in England in 1910: the wealthy, capitalist Wilcoxes, the philanthropic Schlegels, and the impoverished Basts. Academy Award-winner Emma Thompson and Helena Bonham Carter are sisters Margaret and Helen Schlegel, whose lives become entwined with the Wilcox clan, headed by Henry J. (Anthony Hopkins), and the needy Basts family. Co-stars Vanessa Redgrave, Prunella Scales, Samuel West. 142 min. Widescreen; Soundtrack: English; audio commentary.
Named Best Picture of the Year and nominated for nine 1992 Academy Awards(r) (including Best Picture, Best Director and Best Actress), HOWARD'S END is a dazzling adaptation of E.M. Forster's classic novel of Edwardian England. The film tells the story of the Schlegel sisters, Margaret (Emma Thompson) and Helen (Helena Bonham Carter); of a rich businessman, Henry Wilcox (Anthony Hopkins), and his frail wife, Ruth (Vanessa Redgrave), and their children; and of an unhappily married young bank clerk, Leonard Bast (Sam West), whom the Schlegel sisters befriend. These three families are in complete contrast to each other. Margaret and Helen are idealistic, independent and highly educated. The Wilcoxes are uncultured and utterly conventional. Leonard Bast is poor and underprivileged, but with intellectual aspirations. Unexpectedly, when Mrs. Wilcox dies, Mr. Wilcox proposes to and is accepted by Margaret Schlegel. Her sister Helen is shattered by this marriage, and in reaction to it, turns to Leonard Bast. The story has become a tangle of opposites, and through the agency of Mr. Wilcox's son Charles (James Wilby), it turns to tragedy. But in the end, thanks to the moral strength of Margaret, who believes that opposites can meet, that different kinds of people can connect, there is a resolution that is almost a triumph.