Critical Condition: Howards End

Howards End | SoHo, 9.30 Thursday

➢➢ “Kenneth Lonergan’s take on E.M. Forster’s novel is a lovely, witty version that’s less pomp-and-circumstance porn than the Merchant Ivory film … A less fussy, no-nonsense interpretation makes this Howards End feel more muscularly real without having to transport it to the future.” — The Hollywood Reporter.

➢➢ “The four-part miniseries, an adaptation of E.M. Forster’s 1910 novel about class collision and national identity in turn-of-the-century England, is impeccably cast and studiously performed. But the bones of the production, adapted by prominent playwright Kenneth Lonergan and directed by Hettie Macdonald, lacks the impeccable grace and subtlety of both the earlier adaptation and the source material.” — Variety.

➢➢ “Lonergan and the director Hettie Macdonald find something profound in the story’s clash of cultures between the liberal, bourgeois Schlegels and the emotionally repressed, establishment Wilcoxes that feels vital in this particular moment. If people disagree on such fundamental levels, it asks, can they still love each other? Should they?” — The Atlantic.

➢➢ “Though some of the finer points of Edwardian class distinctions and propriety may elude us at this distance, the question at the core of Forster’s work of who will inherit England, has perhaps never been as relevant since he first posed it, and the introduction of non-white characters connects it more emphatically to the present.” — The Guardian.

➢➢ “The comparatively extended length of the enterprise — four hours, versus two hours and 22 minutes for the ’92 film — allows for a detailed and unhurried experience, and the storytellers take advantage of the lengthened timeline, even if they sometimes fail to put emphasis in the right spots. All in all, the new Howards End is a fresh take on an old source, and the longer it goes on, the more different, even special, it gets.” — New York.

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