2 hours 17 minutes | Rated M ( Adult themes)
A complex man who survived the horrors of fighting in the First World War, Siegfried Sassoon (Jack Lowden / Peter Capaldi), a soldier decorated for his bravery on the battlefield, became a vocal critic of the government’s continuation of the war when he returned from service. Legendary still today for his poetry inspired by his experiences on the Western Front, he was adored by both members of the aristocracy as well as stars of London’s literary and theatre scene. He embarked on affairs with several high-profile men as he attempted to come to terms with his homosexuality, whilst at the same time, broken by the horrors of war, his life’s journey became a quest for salvation.
The sheer depth of Sassoon’s personal misery feels like a brutally unfashionable thing for a contemporary film to confront, but Davies, who’s never given a fig about fashion, confronts it head on. Daily Telegraph (UK)
Sassoon’s identity struggle makes for an intriguing journey of self-discovery even if his final revelations are cynical. A sad but telling and expertly composed biofilm. National Newspaper Publishers Association
This is Davies’ second portrait of a sequestered poet, following 2016’s A Quiet Passion, and his third film set against the backdrop of war, after 2011’s The Deep Blue Sea and 2015’s Sunset Song. It might be the saddest and most tragic of the lot. Little White Lies
Terence Davies’s film is a rhapsodic portrayal of an upper-crust milieu in which words are wielded like weapons by people who might otherwise be pariahs. Slant Magazine
Over its roomy, expansive running time, “Benediction” rather devastatingly shows how we become strangers to ourselves as the years march by. Variety