Terence Davis’ Blessing Review

Jeremy Irving and Jack Lowden in

Jeremy Irving and Jack Lowden in “Blessing”
photo: roadside attractions

and blessBritish director Terence Davies returns in spirit to his first two narrative films, highly autobiographical, montage-rich distant sound, still life, and A long day is over. Oddly, his latest work is a biopic about another man — the poet Siegfried Sassoon who left his most lasting mark 25 years before Davis was born.

The two men had no similar upbringing. Sassoon was an aristocrat, even though he severed ties with the centuries-old Sassoon family wealth because his father married outside the Jewish faith. (Luckily for him, his mom had money.) Davis grew up in a working-class Catholic family with nine older siblings, the son of a violent alcoholic. Yet they share a common artistic sensibility, a deep-seated nostalgia that sinks into fiery rage over time. Although Davis’ last film, quiet passionalso a biopic of the poet (Cynthia Nixon as Emily Dickinson), bless It feels, in an odd way, like the completion of the original trilogy.

At first glance, the film appears to be a typical BBC production: rich people in lavish rooms.The first scene shows young Siegfried (Jack Lowden) and his brother Hammer (Tom Ashley) taking part in Igor Stravinsky’s modernist show, Furious Rite of SpringInstead of dancing ballet, we cut a collage of black and white footage of World War I, followed by stylized lighting images of the boys going to war. Only Siegfried returned, but perhaps in a nod to Britain’s stiff upper lip, he hardly sang the praises of his lost brother. Instead, Siegfried turned to letters, indicting the war, which he saw as an undisclosed British imperialist intention.

Wealthy family friends can downgrade the official response from a court-martial to a trip to a Scottish nursing home (not too shabby!), where Siegfried does talk therapy and admits to having a ‘love that dared not speak its name’ Propensity. He has his first romance with another poet-in-residence (Wilfred Owen, played by Matthew Tennyson), who is eventually deemed healthy enough to serve, and is naturally killed on the front lines.

The torment of war is represented by a broken collage, some of which are “projected” across the room (along with anachronistic music), with the occasional flash of a memorable scream or gunshot. Of more attention was the recitation of Sassoon’s words, which brought him enough fame after the war to enter the most sophisticated corners of London’s society.

Here, the movie takes a nosedive, and from the outside, Sassoon’s life seems like a bowl of cherries. He soon found favor with renowned composer and performer Ivor Novello, played by the handsome Jeremy Irvine with pursed lips and thick lashes. (We met him when he serenades Sharon with an annoying ditty”Her mother came too,” One cry out About a horny boy who can’t get what he wants. ) but Sassoon’s relationship with him (and others, including Karam Lynch as Stephen Tennant) was brutally weakened. Another lover (Tom Bryce as Glenn Byam Shaw) sees the sharp tongue and wounded self-esteem as collateral damage to “the shadowy life we ​​live.”

Upper crust explosions (of which there are many) are certainly smart – Davis really can Write— but beneath the chuckle is a source of pain. In a society where homosexuality is not only unacceptable but illegal, breakups and backstabbings seem to be expected. (Not that dates in 2022 are all roses, but the implication here is that the wider culture will make you feel ashamed of any heartbreak.)

quietly, bless The reason Sassoon used self-sabotage as a way to sublimate wartime trauma. The film’s final shot — where Loden’s face melts from emotional overload while his wartime poems are read in voiceover — is one of the most devastating cinematic punctuations in recent memory.

But nothing is clearer than that. This is a movie that has a lot of things left unspoken. There’s no mention of Sassoon’s Jewish ancestry (or his famous family – yes, Vidal Sassoon in the same tree), nor the zeitgeist.if you don’t know who Posey Yes, well, it’s up to you.

Sometime along the way, Sassoon got married. At first, this seemed like a good arrangement, but it soon soured. Switching back and forth in time, Sassoon is played by Peter Capaldi as an older, angrier man who converts to Catholicism and yearns for stability, but remains a terrifying figure with no sense of healing old fetters Interested and vulgar about how popular music was in the early 1960s. The film ends with another theater tour.it’s not hot Rite of Springbut the old-fashioned, lightweight musical Stop the world – I want to get off. Sassoon decides to trek home in the cold, focusing on a culture that doesn’t seem to know what to do with itself.

There’s nothing uplifting about the film, but Davis’ handling of the material is so masterful that the overbearing melancholy ends up turning into poetry.