Review Film: ‘A Banquet’

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‘A Banquet’, The Story of a Teenager Who Experienced a Terrible Supernatural Event That Changed His Life and His Family

“I can feel what’s coming for us, it’s just darkness, mom, for everyone,” – Betsy Hughes.

Adolescence is synonymous with an identity crisis which often makes them easily influenced and emotionally unstable. ‘A Banquet’, a psychological drama film that tries to reveal how easy it is for a teenager to be influenced by new things he encounters in the midst of his ups and downs.

A terrible incident that disturbed his psychology and made him unable to eat.

The film is directed by Ruth Paxton, a Scottish filmmaker who made ‘A Banquet’ his first feature film. She previously made a short film entitled ‘Paris/Sexy’ which was successfully selected to be screened at the 64th Edinburgh International Film Festival.

‘A Banquet’ stars Sienna Guillory, Jessica Alexander, Ruby Stokes, Kaine Zajaz and Lindsay Duncan. ‘A Banquet’ premiered in September last year at the Toronto International Film Festival.

Synopsis

‘A Banquet’ focuses on a family whose lives are changed after a strange incident disturbs one of their daughters. Holly Hughes (Sienna Guillory), an understanding and patient wife must face the fact that her husband who is terminally ill chooses to end his life by suicide.

Betsy Hughes (Jessica Alexander) and Isabelle Hughes (Ruby Stokes) finally have to face their day without a father. The sadness they feel also increases with time, as Holly’s savings are running low.

Betsey, as the eldest child, also has to deal with various teenage problems that make her even more sad. While having a party and getting a little drunk, he saw a red moon and he suddenly disappeared into the forest.

After that, his life changed. He no longer eats and can’t eat, something bothers him. He is often seen looking up and pensive. Sometimes, he says nonsense about the stars and the end of time. Then, how did Holly and Isabelle try to heal Betsy? What happened?

Disease or curse?

In the film, Holly tries to cure Betsy by taking her to the doctor and regularly weighing Betsy. Betsy hadn’t eaten in almost months, she couldn’t even eat a pea.

The doctor didn’t say anything because all the tests showed Betsy was fine. Even science can’t answer that, it’s not an eating disorder .

Betsy’s strange occurrence one night turned out to be the cause of all this. The audience was led to wait while guessing what Betsy really experienced that night.

However, the unfortunate thing is how this film presents a supernatural story, which is thrown away by the storyteller, leaving interpretations and theories to the audience.

When the audience finally understands what happened, it seems that there is still something in question, even though the description is very clearly revealed.

Not terrible, tends to be sympathetic

Although it is still in the category of supernatural horror, this film tends to present the story of how Holly as Betsy’s mother and Isabelle have to face tough things in their lives.

The loss of her husband, Betsy’s illness, deteriorating finances, and not-so-close family relationships all evoke feelings of deep sympathy for Holly.

Viewers are in a position to worry about Holly, rather than a supernatural power Betsy is experiencing, although this is the main focus of the film.

It can’t be said that all who watch will feel a deep empathy for Holly, however, as the story progresses, and Holly’s many points of view and emotions are conveyed to the audience well, it creates a stronger concern for Holly than Betsy.

Emotional acting supported by scoring

‘A Banquet’ focuses on the family relationship of a mother and her two children. But what stands out here is Betsy and the supernatural conditions she experiences, as well as Holly who is the single parent of two daughters.

Holly who is hit by a pile of problems must be able to convey her emotions to the audience so that the storyline can be conveyed properly.

Fortunately, Sienna Guillory managed to play the role of a mother who is trying and trying to find a way out of her problems.

The chemistry that exists between him and Jessica Alexander (Besty) is able to convey strong feelings and bonds between mother and child. Not to forget, the role of June (Lindsay Duncan), as Holly’s mother, who brings a terrible atmosphere from the story, making the atmosphere in this family conflict even darker.

Conclusion

‘A Banquet’ is a psychological horror film that may lean more into drama. The gameplay is interesting storyline at the beginning, making the audience guess what is going on.

The acting of the players also has quite strong chemistry , especially between Sienna Guillory (Holly) and Jessica Alexander (Betsy) as mother and child. Plus the right scoring, adding tension to every scene of the film.

Unfortunately, the audience has to face ambiguity in interpreting the conflict in the film. The writer and director provide a clear explanation in the film of what happened, but this also raises new questions.

Moreover, as a result, the film loses its essence as a supernatural horror film into a drama.

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