E M Forster’s masterpiece returned to our screens in a sparkling 2017 adaptation featuring Matthew Macfadyen and Hayley Atwell. This version shredded preconceptions of class, intellectualism, and personal relationships in Edwardian England. It’s so smartly done that even period drama refuseniks will love it.
Director Hettie Macdonald and script writer Kenneth Lonergan deftly contrast the liberal, arty Schlegels, the materialistic Wilcoxes and the down-at-heel Basts, throwing a mirror to our own times. The personalities are richly drawn and the eponymous house lurks in the script, only fully coming to life towards the end.
Unlike many period pieces this is a series not about costume and wigs, but about class, love and tragedy. First aired on the BBC in the UK and now available on STARZ, this is unmissable television drama.
Carol Midgley in The Times writes that it’s “a lively, nuanced adaptation that fizzes with energy, the naturalistic dialogue at times feeling almost modern. Atwell is luminous as Margaret and gave the best performance.” The New Yorker’s Troy Patterson says that the story “unfolds at a nimble pace in an England still able, early in the twentieth century, to call itself an empire. Part of the beauty of the novel stems from E M Forster’s ability to twist a dense yarn concisely, and the show shares this talent.” In The Hollywood Reporter Tim Goodmanpraises the leading characters who are “self-aware of their class status but not afraid to express their views of social and economic injustice while also mingling with — and of course marrying into — rich families.”