- James Ivory
- Reviewed by
- Gon Curiel a.k.a. Groucho
- Review date
- Thursday, November 01, 2007
The story is rather immortal: in 1910 England, the impulsive engagement of the younger Schlegel sister, Helen (Helena Bonham Carter), to young Paul Wilcox (Joseph Bennett) leads to disaster when it turns out to have been a foolery that offends both families. Fate later decides that the power-hungry Wilcoxes and the intellectual Schlegels become neighbors in London, which leads to Mrs. Wilcox (Vanessa Redgrave) and the older Schlegel sister, Meg (Emma Thompson), to become friends. Mr. Wilcox (Anthony Hopkins) seems to be incapable of human emotions, but Meg discovers in Mrs. Wilcox a set of hidden sensibilities and their relationship flourishes into the older ladyís most important friendship probably in her whole life. She makes a decision that scandalizes the Wilcoxes. This decision involves her countryside house called Howards End.
In the meantime, Helen, still impulsive and rather fiery, befriends a young and poor clerk, Leonard Bast (Samuel West), whoís been rejected by his family due to his stubbornness in eloping with Jacky (Nicola Duffett), a woman they did not desire for him. In the same way that Meg helped Mrs. Wilcox unravel in such a positive way, Helen discovers that Mr. Bast is sensitive and brilliant, and makes him her personal cause. After an advice of Mr. Wilcox for Mr. Bastís career leads to the younger manís ruin, Helenís fury becomes disaster for the three families.
The story is outstanding per se but the way itís told is staggering and beautiful. Furthermore, the casting work is perfection as everyone disappears in their roles, the standouts easily being Thompson and Redgrave, followed closely by Hopkins, Bonham Carter and West. I also quite enjoy smaller performances by James Wilby as Charles Wilcox, Prunella Scales as Aunt Juley and Jemma Redgrave as Evie Wilcox.
Other standouts: Tony Pierce-Robertsí cinematography and Richard Robbinsí music score. Both are some of the most gorgeous put on screen. The flawless editing by Andrew Marcus dances with music and photography in amazing ways, creating the perfect moment out of every scene. This is a perfectly executed film, and one of exquisite taste too. Itís also one of my favorites, and a must-see.
ďThe poor are the poor, and oneís sorry for them - but there it is.Ē
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