‘Benediction’ Film Review: Terence Davies Confirms His Status as Poet Laureate of Biopics

‘Benediction’ Film Review: Terence Davies Confirms His Status as Poet Laureate of Biopics
Most biopics are thuddingly prosaic: There’s a lot of “this happened, then that happened,” performed by a famous person covering themselves in latex in an attempt to resemble another famous person.

In the hands of British auteur Terence Davies, however, biopics can be poetry, although his choice of subject matter probably helps in that department. On the heels of his gorgeous and contemplative “A Quiet Passion,” about the life of Emily Dickinson, he returns with another passionately quiet portrait, this time exploring Siegfried Sassoon in “Benediction.”

It’s an impressionistic collage, and Davies skillfully jumps from the 1910s to the 1960s and back again. “Benediction” fleetingly encapsulates the horrors of WWI — Sassoon went from being a decorated soldier to an outspoken critic against those who would prolong the conflict — the shadow-world of British gay men in the decades before homosexuality was decriminalized in the UK, and the bitterness of
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