Concerned about social media, AI, and screen time?
Subscribe to our newsletter and get the best out of media and tech.
A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
The movie shows the importance of family love and support, as well as keeping an open mind toward things you may not understand. However, it also shows the negative effects that an intense caring situation can have on others.
Positive Role Models
Holly is shown to be a supportive mother, but functions in a very orderly way that is sometimes lacking in emotion. She wants what is best for her daughters. But the unusual situation she's placed in is at odds with her desire for control, which causes her to become quickly frustrated. She does, however, learn to adapt, though her support for Betsey comes at a price for her younger daughter, Isabelle.
While the central family is White, there is some diversity in the supporting characters. This includes characters in positions of authority, such as a Black careers counselor, as well as teens at a party. There is strong female representation, with three generations of the family being exclusively women. Anorexia is mentioned, and a character says it is for "entitled, middle-class White girls," which is a damaging stereotype. Characters are all traditionally attractive, with similar slim body types. Mental illness and stints in psychiatric facilities are mentioned, though the illness is not specified.
Did we miss something on diversity? Suggest an update.
Violence & Scariness
A seriously ill character drinks bleach to take their own life and blood is coughed up on the floor. A dead body is also shown. Another character threatens to take their own life and later attempts to strangle themselves. Blood is shown when brushing teeth, taking a blood sample at the doctor's, and when a character is punched in the nose. A parent pulls a teenager roughly and throws them on the bed. A character has a fit and screams in agony, and a scene involves passing out. There is mention of anorexia and force-feeding is shown on-screen, as well as a choking incident. There is a dark, tense atmosphere and some scary moments involving whispering voices, implication of possession, and a dream sequence with a mouth in the back of a character's head. The death of a parent is referenced.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Violence & Scariness in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Sex, Romance & Nudity
Characters kiss on the lips.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Sex, Romance & Nudity in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Occasional language includes "s--t," "s--tting," "f--k," "f---ing," "f--ked," "a--hole," and "d--khead."
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Language in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Underage teens drink alcohol and smoke cigarettes at a party, and adults drink wine with dinner. A teen smokes drugs and is seen intoxicated, resulting in sickness, and consumes what is said to be cocaine but turns out to be powdered alcohol. A character passes out, but there is some question as to whether it is substance related or otherworldly. There is mention of lithium in a mental health context.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Drinking, Drugs & Smoking in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that A Banquet is a psychological horror movie with themes around eating disorders, mental health, and suicide, with occasional strong language. When Betsey (Jessica Alexander), a teenage girl stops eating, claiming her body has become a vessel for a higher power, her mother, Holly (Sienna Guillory), is put to the test. Anorexia is mentioned and there is a scene of force-feeding. There is also a scene where a character tries to take their own life by drinking bleach. Infrequent strong language includes variants of "f--k" and "s--t," and teens drink alcohol, smoke, and take drugs. There are some gory scenes involving blood, and a nightmare sequence with body horror aspects, but there are very few direct scares. Younger viewers may find the adult themes confusing and frightening, but more patient mid-teens upward may enjoy the creepy atmosphere and complex issues. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
The debut film from director Ruth Paxton is full of intriguing ideas and strong performances, but never quite finds its focus. A Banquet centers on the relationship between a recently bereaved mother and daughter. Exploring the dynamics between the two, it manages to keep the relationship at arm's length, the strangely organized and dimly lit interiors of their home further serving to create the feeling of a space that is not quite real, where the picture is not quite complete.
So many ideas are thrown into the mix, it's fascinating just watching to see which will win out. There's trauma, adolescent drama, hysteria, possession, doomsday, mental health, eating disorders, religious epiphany, existential crisis, caring, faith ... the list goes on. But it's the inability to really steer in any one direction that ultimately lets the movie down. Open ends are great, but when there are too many, there's a danger of nothing concrete left at the core. One for the more patient horror fans, who appreciate psychodrama over scares, it's a highly unique film that will most certainly unsettle, but not quite make the impact to live up to its potential.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.