Howard’s End (1992)

I was never a big Merchant-Ivory guy at the time they were hot property (mid-’80s to mid-’90s) and while a later viewing of Room with a View made me wonder if I was missing out, I do sort of think that maybe, generally, y’know, they’re pretty much as boring as they look. This is not a movie to dissuade anyone of that idea. It’s not exactly boring, but neither is it very exciting either. It shies away from action or even high drama like a sheep shies from a randy Scotsman. This is clearly a matter of taste rather than incompetence. The Boy put it best: “I didn’t know what it was doing, but I felt like it knew what it was doing, so I didn’t find fault with it.”

The Flower sort of lost it when she realized her beloved Anthony Hopkins—beloved for his role as Hannibal Lecter—was the love interest. She had a hard time accepting that. And, honestly, the movie doesn’t really sell it. There’s no apparent chemistry between Hopkins and Emma Thompson, but there really wouldn’t be.

Never.
Ever.

I don’t know. I have very positive memories of Room with a View and I think I expected a lot more out of this. It’s definitely precision, deliberate, but maybe not the story I wanted to see right then.

The attention to detail is definitely noteworthy. The windows have imperfect glass in them, just as they would have at the time. The carelessness of the condition of the upper classes to those of lower classes is certainly on display. It didn’t really grab me. Or any of us (including some other friends who went to a different show, perhaps also with high expectations). The restoration is nice. It looks new-ish.

It’s over the two hour mark, too, but that doesn’t really seem to be an issue, which is a positive thing. Like I say, the movie moves you along expertly as it flows, it’s just a slow moving flow about people it’s kind of hard to relate to.

As one must.
Unless you’re really into rowboats.

I dunno. Check it out, maybe, if you like this sort of thing. I may give it another 25 years to see if I’m more in the demo by then.

2 thoughts on “Howard’s End (1992)

  1. I actually really liked Howard’s End, although I haven’t seen it for a while. I agree there isn’t really much chemistry there, but I thought the story had charm and the cinematography/setting was gorgeous. For some reason my memory of Remains of the Day wasn’t as positive, although again, I haven’t seen it in a while.

    1. Oh, it’s marvelously shot. We have a running gag here about Remains of the Day but it’s a story for another time.

      (For some reason, your post ended up in my trash, so I didn’t see this response until now.)

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