Connect with us
A Banquet 2021 film review
Image: IFC Midnight

Film

A Banquet is a Frustratingly Film that Bites Off More Than it Can Chew

London Film Festival: A Banquet Review

Following the tragic death of their family’s patriarch, mother Holly (Sienna Guillory) is further tested when her oldest daughter Betsey (Jessica Alexander) suddenly decides to stop eating. As Betsey gets worse, entering into long stretches of dormant existence, the tension between three generations of women, including Holly’s overbearing mother June (Lindsay Duncan), becomes heightened until it threatens to snap.

The problem with A Banquet is in its themes, and how it wants to explore the relationship between the various women in the family. Initially presenting itself as a delve into the effects of anorexia on young girls and women, particularly after a traumatic incident triggers it. In this, its first act, it’s effective; Betsey, although in every other way a healthy woman about to embark on her journey to university, out-of-the-blue decides that food is not needed for her, with even eating a single pea becoming a difficult proposition.

Until that is, it wants to introduce even more to the fold, including feminine trauma, faith, and an impending doomsday, diluting the power of any of those, and losing focus in the process. Without a scare in sight, choosing itself to be a more psychological horror, this makes for slow and sluggish proceedings, a film too excited to tick off boxes to find its feet.

A Banquet
Image: IFC Midnight

Where the film does succeed is in its ability to drip-feed information to provide context. The relationship between Holly and June is fraught, but not explained in excruciating detail, whilst Holly clearly pays favourites for Betsey over younger daughter Isabelle (Ruby Stokes) – the former is often referred to as her “special little girl”, whilst the latter becomes isolated and abandoned in the wake of her sister’s illness, albeit unintentionally.

The casting is also excellent, Guillory as a mother just trying to get by, whilst Duncan, always incredible, brings a touch of class to the film. But where it truly shines is in its performances from the two daughters; Alexander, starting as a teenager still through the grieving process, is able to carry that through to her moments of possession, whilst Stokes is excellent as a young daughter whose loneliness is palpable.

There is definitely something to be explored in the correlation between horror and eating disorders, and the toll it takes on a family, but its irritating tendency to get distracted by a new theme spoils the broth, not to mention an ambiguous ending that doesn’t connect with much from the previous 90 minutes. A potential not fully realised, it fails to connect in any meaningful way.

The BFI London Film Festival runs from October 6 to the 17th. Visit the festival’s official website for more info.

Written By

Roni Cooper is a twenty-something from the UK who spends her time watching any and every film put in front of her. Her favourites include 'Singin' in the Rain', 'Rear Window', 'Alien' and 'The Thing', and she will watch absolutely anything in which Jessica Chastain stars. When not in front of a screen, be it small or silver, she can be found taking care of her spoilt but adorable dog and refusing to make the move from physical to digital media.

Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Facebook

Trending

Memphis Anchor Cause of Death Revealed! How Did She Die?

Celebrity

Amy Ross Lopez Daughter: The Inspiring Story of Amy Ross Lopez’s Daughter’s American Idol Journey!

Celebrity

Dexter Romweber Cause of Death: Exploring the Factors Contributing to His Passing!

Celebrity

Is Annie Osgood Gay? Unveiling the Reality Behind Her Alleged Sexual Orientation!

Celebrity

Martell Holt Net Worth Martell Holt Net Worth

Martell Holt Net Worth

Culture

Joni Mitchell Announces First Los Angeles Concert In 24 Years

Celebrity

Melissa McCarthy Weight Loss: The Ultimate Guide to Her Inspiring Weight Loss Journey!

Celebrity

Is Elisabeth Moss Pregnant? Moss Addresses Speculation About Her Pregnancy!

Celebrity

Benzino Drops Another Eminem Diss

Celebrity

Who Is Kelsey Cook’s Husband? Who Is Her Husband and How They Tied the Knot?

Celebrity

Who Is Sam Purcell’s Wife? Meet His Wife and Children!

Celebrity

Is Coryxkenshin Dead? The Coryxkenshin Death Speculations!

Celebrity

Dagen McDowell Illness: Is She Battling a Serious Disease?

Celebrity

Christian Petroni Wife: Discover His Wife, Kids, and Family Life!

Celebrity

Why Did Meadow Walker and Louis Thornton Allan Divorce? The Real Reasons Behind Their Split

Celebrity

Robert Downey Jr. Thanks Wife Susan, Rob Lowe, Cillian Murphy As He Accepts 2024 Santa Barbara Film Festival Honor

Celebrity

Connect