Howards End (TV Mini-Series 2017– ) Poster

(2017– )

User Reviews

Review this title
10 Reviews
Sort by:
Filter by Rating:
Excellent adaptation, well acted and presented
asastewart19 November 2017
I'm writing this review after episode 2, mainly to counter some of the other overly critical reviews of Howard's End.

I loved the movie version with Emma Thompson and Anthony Hopkins, but I feel this miniseries version can explore further some of the issues and topics E.M. Forster touched on in his book; class, gender, nationality etc. Also the mirrored circumstances across the class divide and how characters deal with them

As regards race and some of the casting i.e. the housemaid and Jacky Bast, I think they were interesting choices and one Forster would have approved of. He was a fierce opponent of racism (especially anti-anti-semitism) and, to answer another question a reviewer posed, yes there were black people in Edwardian London, all part of the class struggles of the period.

The cast are all excellent, especially Hayley Atwell and Philippa Coulthard. The costumes and cinematography are great. In the first episode the background music seemed rather loud and obtrusive, but this wasn't a problem for me in episode 2. I'm looking forward to episodes 3 & 4.

To those who say it's slow and nothing happens, I'm not sure what to say. Maybe watch the other channel with 'I'm a celebrity get me out of here' on it, or a Transformers movie.
32 out of 39 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
Howards End
alan_hart-800834 December 2017
Although I felt the 1992 film was so good that it couldn't be improved on, I found this TV version surprisingly good and the four hours hardly seemed enough to contain all the strands of the story. The acting was perfect, neither overdone nor underdone. As it happens, I live in Stevenage and know the location of Howards End well. The location used was somewhere else of course but I thought it was quite like the original could have been in 1890 when the author would have known it, and perfect for the purposes of the drama. I sympathise with the points people make about black servants and so on, but whether or not these exist in the book, they are certainly quite plausible for the time. The winner for me was E.M. Forster again, as it was in 1992, but I will miss the programme and wish there could be a sequel - perhaps another Passage to India. It's indeed a pity that Forster stopped writing novels so soon, as with his understanding of social mores and change, he would have been a good person to write about the 1930s or 1940s. The last hour was for me a blissful one.
17 out of 21 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
Sparkling Performances
quotes-37 December 2017
Matthew McFayden and Hayley Atwell just lit up the screen... I thought perhaps the glory days of BBC Sunday night costume dramas had past, but their performances here were wonderful, the control and command of the dialogue was exquisite. A delight.

I have given 9 out of 10, so I will note that a few minor quibbles: - Some of the plot elements were a bit clunky - It wasn't always clear how much time had elapsed or how much the characters had aged - It felt a little stretched out to episodes
11 out of 13 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
julia-carlson3 December 2017
I Hardly ever write a review especially for British dull television ( never done, as I never watch it ) . But this one is simply a treasure. Such depth, the Cast, their magnificent performance, the emotions , the philosophy .

It's hard to let go, impossible . This is the only English drama in 18 years I have been recording and looking forward to . Brilliant film .
10 out of 14 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
janicehughes1 December 2017
Jacky Bast as an African women, racially mixed marriages in Edwardian England? I don't think so, especially since no one so much as raises an eyebrow. Not to mention the Schlegel's family doctor as an Indian man and the Schlegel's housemaid as an African women? Domestic servants in Edwardian England were white. Many scenes with carefully placed non-Europeans. This is supposed to take place in Edwardian England, not modern day London. Tibby Schlegel's un-Forsterian rant, comparing Henry Wilcox to Joseph Conrad's Kurtz in Heart of Darkness is ridiculous, if not subversive. I cringe to think of what's coming next, so I'll stop watching. It's so consciously politically correct that it distracts from the actual E.M. Forster story. The Schlegel women's strong, resolute personalities however are an important part of E.M. Forster's story. This is not E.M. Forster's though, it's a dishonest representation of Howards End and Edwardian England. For the real thing watch Merchant Ivory's beautiful and respectful 1992 film adaption of E.M. Forster's Howards End.
34 out of 62 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
Loved everything about this miniseries
cathysyoung3 December 2017
The story was interesting and I could not guess the ending. I loved the characters and how they changed over the course of the series. They learned and evolved. I loved the acting, photography, music and details about live in England and the different classes of people. Thoroughly enjoyable! I am sad its over and will now need to find a new program to watch!
9 out of 13 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
Jury's still out
Kiaran-ryan113 November 2017
Nice scenery, nice costumes, but not a lot happened in Episode 1.

The thing that struck me most was the number of characters from a non- European heritage - would this really have been the case in Edwardian times, or is it political correctness filling quotas?

I'll probably have to read the book to check!
21 out of 44 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
BBC takes on EM Forster
TheLittleSongbird4 January 2018
Love the book, and EM Forster's other work, and the 1992 film is not only one of the best Forster adaptations it is a wonderful film in its own right. BBC have done a lot of very good to outstanding period drama adaptations and the cast are a talented lot, so a large part of me was really looking forward to their adaptation of 'Howard's End'.

Watching all four episodes, found myself finding a lot to like about 'Howard's End' (2017) but feeling also it had its short-comings that stopped me from loving it. Of this and the 1992 film, as unfair it would seem to compare, there is no question which is the better one of the two, with the 2017 adaptation lacking the nuanced depth, emotion and elegance of the film.

There is a lot to like about 'Howard's End' (2017). It is impeccably made visually, with the period detail sumptuous and evocative, stylish costumes, beautiful photography and even more beautiful scenery/locations. The direction is admirably restrained without being pedestrian.

'Howard's End' (2017) is intelligent and controlled, doing a lovely job exploring Forster's many themes and insights that still hold relevance and provoke thought today (at least to me). Appreciated the subtle, restrained approach to the storytelling, and on the most part keeps the many layers and characterisation interesting.

Casting is also strong, with the standouts being Hayley Atwell, capturing Margaret's good intentions, spirit and emotional repression with ease, and a movingly poised Julia Ormond. Matthew MacFadyen brings a suitable amount of charisma. A lot of talk has been made about the diversity, this didn't bother me at all and am sure Forster himself wouldn't have been bothered by it, it didn't seem jarring and to me it seems to be something insignificant blown out of proportion.

On the other hand, as indicated, 'Howard's End' had its shortcomings. The first episode was something of a slow starter, it needed more zest and tighter pacing for an episode that felt more like set up than anything else. Stick with it though, because the other three episodes improve on this when the story and characters become richer and deeper. Timeline changes could have been clearer, sometimes it did feel jumpy and one doesn't know how much time has passed.

For me, and quite a few others it seemed, the music was a bit too intrusive and the sound could have been toned down. While the cast were on the most part very impressive, Tracy Ullman overdoes it a bit.

In summary, good but could have been more. 7/10 Bethany Cox
5 out of 8 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
Dull in the extreme
derek-eynon13 November 2017
In a whole one hour episode virtually nothing happens, various vacuous letters are exchanged, and that is about it.

The locations are superb, and a very good cast, but the whole thing is utterly, utterly vapid.

Uninspired, colourless, uninteresting, feeble, flat, dead, dull, boring, tedious, tired, unexciting, uninspiring, unimaginative, lifeless, zest-less and spiritless
29 out of 75 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
Howards End
Prismark109 December 2017
Given Queen Elizabeth the First once remarked about the amount of coloured people in London, it is safe to assume we have had black and Asian people in England for centuries. Shakespeare even wrote a play about a black king. Back in the Victorian era there was a black policeman on the beat in Carlisle in 1837.

There was a magisterial film version of Howards End in 1993. This adaptation of the EM Forster novel was done by Kenneth Lonergan, fresh from his best screenplay Oscar success for Manchester by the Sea.

Set in Edwardian England we see a saga of three different families in the social and class divide. The wealthy Wilcoxes, the middle class and idealistic Schlegels and the lower class Basts.

I found this four part version rather slow going and flabby. It is very difficult to feel any sympathy for the selfish Wilcoxes with a couple of big houses, putting their oar in and causing misery for others especially the Basts. We never really see them doing any work for a living.

Even the Schlegels, a Jewish family from Germany who might be liberal idealists, they end up being comfortably off with Margaret marrying Henry Wilcox despite them having little romantic chemistry.

It is a shame about Leonard Bast, he always ends up with the brown end of the stick as others tell him what is best for him and then wish to give him a thrashing to the inch of his life.

I expected something better from Lonergan, something more waspish with a contemporary sting.
4 out of 17 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this

See also

Awards | FAQ | User Ratings | External Reviews | Metacritic Reviews