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Ending of Benediction Explained

The ending of Benediction shows Siegfried Sassoon finding some peace through his conversion to Catholicism, but he remains haunted by his past.

Benediction is a biographical drama about Siegfried Sassoon, a British poet and World War I veteran. The film, directed by Terence Davies, explores Sassoon’s life, his anti-war stance, romantic relationships, and his eventual conversion to Catholicism.

Sassoon’s Life Journey

Siegfried Sassoon’s life is a tapestry of experiences. The film starts with his time in World War I. Sassoon becomes a vocal critic of the war, which leads to his confinement in a psychiatric facility. There, he meets and mentors the poet Wilfred Owen. After the war, Sassoon’s life takes many turns. He has romantic relationships with several men in the 1920s, marries Hester Gatty, and struggles with his identity and legacy as a poet.

The film paints a vivid picture of Sassoon’s internal and external battles. His outspoken views on the war and his personal relationships shape his journey. The narrative captures the essence of a man torn between his ideals and the harsh realities of life.

Thematic Significance

The ending of Benediction is a poignant reflection on Sassoon’s life. As an older man, played by Peter Capaldi, Sassoon still grapples with the trauma of war and the loss of his friends, especially Wilfred Owen. The final scenes are filled with melancholy and resignation. Sassoon reflects on his life choices and the futility of his efforts to change the world through his poetry.

The film’s conclusion highlights the lasting impact of war on Sassoon’s psyche. His conversion to Catholicism offers him some solace, but it is a bittersweet resolution. Sassoon remains haunted by memories of the war and the friends he lost. The final moments, featuring a reading of Owen’s poem “Disabled” over archival footage of injured soldiers, serve as a powerful reminder of the horrors of war and the enduring legacy of Sassoon’s poetry.

Emotional Impact

The ending of Benediction is deeply moving. It captures the profound sense of loss and disillusionment that defined Sassoon’s later years. The use of Owen’s poetry, read by both Jack Lowden and Peter Capaldi, adds a layer of poignancy to the film’s conclusion. The juxtaposition of Sassoon’s personal struggles with the broader horrors of war underscores the enduring impact of his experiences on his psyche.

Cinematic Techniques

Director Terence Davies uses various cinematic techniques to enhance the emotional impact of the film’s ending. The use of archival footage, combined with the haunting recitation of Owen’s poetry, creates a powerful visual and auditory experience. The film’s non-linear narrative structure, which shifts between different periods of Sassoon’s life, allows for a deeper exploration of his character and the lasting effects of his wartime experiences.

Critical Acclaim

Benediction has received widespread critical acclaim, with particular praise for its ending. On Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds an approval rating of 93% based on 149 reviews, with an average rating of 7.7/10. The site’s consensus reads, “It isn’t an easy watch, but Benediction uncovers a profoundly affecting drama in the real-life story of a combat veteran whose poetry warned against the horrors of war”. Similarly, Metacritic assigned the film a score of 81 out of 100 based on 32 critic reviews, indicating “universal acclaim”.


The ending of Benediction is a fitting conclusion to a film that explores the elaborateities of Siegfried Sassoon’s life and legacy. Through its poignant depiction of Sassoon’s struggles with his wartime experiences and his search for meaning, the film offers a powerful meditation on the enduring impact of war and the redemptive power of art. The critical acclaim for the film’s ending underscores its emotional and thematic resonance, making Benediction a compelling and thought-provoking biopic.


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