Reviewed 7.4.18 Lots of pomp, but lacking in circumstance. It's Jane Austen without the romanticism. Downton Abbey without the soap opera drama. As a Merchant-Ivory presentation, of course the production values are top-notch, along with the acting. But 144 minutes of overly privileged white people finding things to bitch about grows tiresome. Sure, I just described an entire sub-genre of period films. But at least most others have something substantial at their core, be it a war, or deep-seeded matters of the heart. Instead Howard's End is built around the frivolous importance of its eponymous namesake.
Samuel West as Leonard Bast, and Helena Bonham Carter as Helen Schlegel, add some juice to the staid proceedings. Yet they still feel underdeveloped, their lack of an in-depth back story is a missed opportunity. And lastly, if someones death is going to be the climax of a film, make sure its a dignified send off. In this case, it bordered on comical. I understand I'm going against the grain with this review. But just because it has quality individual parts, doesn't mean it equals a greater whole.