‘Benediction’ Review: Terence Davies Finds Room for Himself in a Heartbreaking Siegfried Sassoon Biopic

In multiple interviews over the years, British filmmaker Terence Davies has baldly stated that being gay has ruined his life: “I hate it, I’ll go to my grave hating it … it has killed part of my soul,” he said in 2011, adding that his sexuality is the reason he remains single and celibate.

Davies’ professed loneliness and sensitivity has bled through many of his films, wistfully entrenched as they often are in an unattainable past, most recently in a series of female-centered character studies: his swooningly melodramatic, cut-glass adaptation of Terence Rattigan’s “The Deep Blue Sea,” his amber-cast farm drama “Sunset Song” and his mannered, internalized Emily Dickinson portrait “A Quiet Passion.” Yet Davies has never directly addressed homosexuality in his oeuvre, for all its queer undercurrents; that it’s so openly and sensually a part of his intricate, intensely felt new film “Benediction” is the first of its many surprises.

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