8/10 The story of Siegfried Sassoon, a British poet, writer and soldier who had anti-war sentiments during WWI, which got him into hot water. Sassoon was a closeted homosexual, who had affairs with many men, despite marrying a woman and having a child with his wife. I was unaware of Sassoon’s fascinating story, which is certainly a heartbreaking one. Despite all of the lost loves, it was the traumatic devastation of The Great War and all of the comrades lost, which weighed heavy on Sassoon for the entire remainder of his life. I liked that writer/director Terence Davies showed the realism that despite a war being over for decades, that the pain and misery stay with so many until the day that they die. Davies provides a deep and thought provoking screenplay with fine direction. The use of editing in old WWI footage with Sassoon’s poetic voiceovers works expertly well and is completely memorable. The acting all around is fantastic with Jack Lowden playing the younger version of Sassoon (who we spend the vast majority of the film with) and Peter Capaldi playing the senior version of him. The rest of the supporting cast is excellent but this is really Lowden’s film from start to finish. Everything from the production design to the costume design helps recreate the time period in an accurate and authentic way. The soundtrack is perfectly fitting and transports you back in time while the aforementioned voiceovers of Sassoon’s poetry/writings aren’t overused, but just enough to set the mood and tone going forward. Sassoon converted to Catholicism later in life which caused even more inner turmoil amongst himself. Dealing with war, trauma, sexuality, rejection, love, loss, faith, standing up for one’s beliefs, etc., the film covers a lot of ground in its over two hour running time but Davies uses time wisely and I felt that there were no wasted moments as the plot constantly moved forward and/or developed its complex characters. While there were some clichés and predictable moments, the film is both entertaining and educational in its subject matter. While the film certainly won’t be for everyone due to some of the sexual subject matter, I couldn’t help but feel great sympathy for a misunderstood man with a crisis of conscious living in one of the darkest time periods in European history. Worth checking out for fans of history/war, poetry or deep character studies into complicated men.

#BeneDickTion / #JackBlowmen / #WritingWithMyFamily / #AmputeePoetry / #DreadPoetsSociety / #NationalSassoonsEuropeanMentation

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