Benediction (2021, Terence Davies)

See Also: A Quiet Passion, for which I wrote: “Spoiler alert for a Terence Davies movie: her heart is full of poetry and yearning but her adult/love life doesn’t turn out very happily.”

Siegfried “Vidal” Sassoon is a sensitive soul, deeply marked by the war, witty and strong-minded but sweet, who has affairs with a string of bitchy bitter young men, and finally grows into a bitchy bitter old man himself. Jack Lowden (friendly lawyer of Mangrove) is brilliant as younger Sassoon. Feels like a large movie for Davies, more characters and stock footage and party scenes and time periods than usual. The well-done morphing effect is back. The other fine actors included Simon Beale (husband of Deep Blue Sea), Jeremy Irvine (star of War Horse), Gemma Jones (Oliver Reed’s eventual wife in The Devils).

With a new Downton Abbey movie out, it’s really time we rewatch Gosford Park, which also featured Ivor Novello as a character. Stephen Tennant is mainly shown wearing colorful scarves, but after visiting his wiki page, I resent the movie not mentioning that Tennant’s stepdad Lord Grey was a bird lover whose older brother was the namesake for Earl Grey tea. Sassoon’s son George taking an interest in UFOs in the 1970’s and writing “The Radio Hacker’s Codebook” in the 90’s are just more reasons this movie needs a sequel – all these would’ve been cooler codas than Sassoon aging into Peter Capaldi, converting to catholicism in the 1960’s and being horrible to family and friends.

My first movie at the Landmark Midtown Art since Portrait of a Lady on Fire in early 2020. Glad to see some things haven’t changed (audio bleed through thin walls, indifferent projection quality) and some things have (they’ve stopped labeling which movie is on which screen, the lobby seems more haunted).

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