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Country: United Kingdom, Language: English, 137 mins

  • Director: Terence Davies
  • Writer: Terence Davies
  • Producer: Paul Ashton, Deborah Aston, Margarethe Baillou, Michael Elliott, Lizzie Francke, Rose Garnett, Peter Hampden, Jack Lowden, Norman Merry, Walli Ullah

CGiii Comment

Our advice: Watch this film [at least] twice. Then, and only then, will you get the full emotional thrust that Terence Davies relentlessly and stylistically delivers.

When a bright young thing reaches the depth of their despair. A life led with so many anomalies can only be a life lived with regret. Peter Capaldi's elderly Sassoon spits venom...fuelled with a churlish frustration of being unappreciated, barely recognised...the last throes of narcissism! 

By stark contrast, Jack Lowden, as the young Sassoon, delights in the delights of privilege and connection. His war experience affords him a fragility that cracks but never shatters. He is an eloquent Lothario-in-training.

The affection that Terence Davies shows for the young Sassoon is spotlighted against his obvious and unbridled contempt for Ivor Novello...a conceited heart-breaker, so-much-so, it's difficult to see why Novello was even tolerated in this society. Still, money and fame always trump and thump the required family trees of aristocracy.

The conflicts are vast and complex, as is the timeline...but, with this honed director's experience, there's nothing ramshackle or random. This is a blessing...for the fallen, for the bright things...for love.

Siegfried Sassoon's despair came not from being under-appreciated, nor for being unflappably unforgiving...but, from remembering and being constantly reminded of his one true lost love.

“W’s death was an unhealed wound, & the ache of it has been with me ever since. I wanted him back—not his poems.”

An emotional wallop.


The(ir) Blurb...

The story of English poet, writer and soldier Siegfried Sassoon.

Cast & Characters

Gemma Jones
Kate Phillips
Ben Daniels (as Dr. Rivers)
Geraldine James
Peter Capaldi (as Siegfried Sassoon)
Jeremy Irvine (as Ivor Novello)
Jack Lowden (as Young Siegfried Sassoon)
Anton Lesser
Lia Williams
Kellie Shirley (as Singing Girl)
Simon Russell Beale
Suzanne Bertish
Paddy Rowan (as Young Soldier)
Calam Lynch (as Stephen Tennant)
Harry Lawtey (as Bobby Andrews)
Joanna Bacon (as Lady Sybil Colefax)
Tom Blyth (as Glen Byam Shaw)
David Shields (as Alexander Fenton)
Edmund Kingsley (as Rex Whistler)
Jude Akuwudike
Jamie-Lee Beacher (as Nurse)
Thom Ashley (as Hamo Sassoon)
Stacey Lynn Crowe (as Nurse)
Bobby Robertson (as Taxi Driver)
Ernest Vernon (as Waiter)