Margaret, Helen and Tibby Schlegel are bright, beautiful and, compared with most Edwardians, open-minded. The Wilcoxes, with the sole exception of Mrs Wilcox, are not. When Helen (Bonham Carter) carries a torch for Paul Wilcox (Bennett), she gets her fingers burned, but Margaret (Thompson) strikes up a friendship with Mrs Wilcox (Vanessa Redgrave), who then goes and spoils it all by dying. Her last wish is for Margaret to have her house in the country, Howards End, but the wicked Wilcoxes destroy the will and deny Margaret her inheritance. Then, would you believe it, Mr Wilcox (Hopkins) falls for her... Thus the stage is set for a saga of marriage, idealism, despair, pregnancy, exile and manslaughter conducted to the sound of skeletons rattling in the closet. This is as close as EM Forster ever came to a revenger's tragedy, and the only way Ruth Prawer Jhabvala's overlong screenplay can incorporate all the incident is by over-using black-outs. The performances are impeccable, but honours go to Thompson, who manages to make Margaret's saintliness actually seem seductive.