‘A Banquet’ Ending Explained: What happens to Holly?

A Banquet Plot Synopsis

A Banquet is not an easy film to understand. On the surface, it is an examination of grief as the protagonists of this story, Holly, and her two daughters, Betsey and Isabelle, have to deal with the aftermath of their terminally ill husband/father’s death. They each deal with their grief in their own ways, but Betsey’s way of coping seems to be linked to her refusal to eat anything.

However, the film also deals with apocalyptic themes and these seem to tie into the ending of the movie and the fate of Holly.

So, what is this movie about? And what does happen to Holly? There are no clear answers but let’s take a closer look.

Why does Betsey refuse to eat?

It could be suggested that Betsey developed an eating disorder after experiencing trauma when watching her father die. However, she seemingly doesn’t lose any weight, even after 6 months of not eating, so it is could be that her issue is more than psychological.

Another theory behind her reason not to eat is a little more unbelievable.

When at a party with some of her friends, Betsey breaks away from the group and wanders into the woods. While here, she witnesses a blood-red moon in the sky and this seems to have a strange effect on her. She returns to the party in a dazed state and in some kind of trance. Her friends call Holly for help and after a short while, she comes to collect Betsey and take her home.

It is the day after this event that Betsey refuses to eat. It would seem that it has something to do with whatever vision she got caught up in when looking at the moon. She starts to talk about the end of the world, people becoming stars, and how she has become enlightened. She talks about her body and how it is in service to a higher power, and she suggests Holly might have something to do with the apocalyptic events that are due to take place.

As she seems to believe her body is no longer her own, this could be her reason for not eating. Later in the film, it would appear that she has become possessed but we don’t quite know what could have taken over her.

What does the moon have to do with the apocalypse?

In the Bible, there are a number of prophecies that point to the ‘end times.’ One of these is the sight of a blood-red moon.

Revelation 6:12-14 reads:

“The sun turned black like sackcloth made of goat hair, the whole moon turned blood red, and the stars in the sky fell to earth, as figs drop from a fig tree when shaken by a strong wind.”

Another verse comes from Joel 2:29-32, which reads:

“Even on my servants, both men and women, I will pour out my Spirit in those days. I will show wonders in the heavens and on the earth, blood and fire and billows of smoke. The sun will be turned to darkness and the moon to blood before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord.”

Betsey’s apocalyptic warnings could be tied into these verses but before you start to panic the next time you see a red moon, be assured that it’s also a natural phenomenon and not necessarily a harbinger of doom!

What happens to Holly at the end of the film?

Towards the end of the film, Holly realises Betsey has been manipulating the weighing scales, perhaps to hide the fact that she really had been losing weight.

She contemplates calling for an ambulance for her daughter but then tells Betsey that she “believes her.’ We can assume this is in reference to the supernatural stories that Betsey had previously relayed about higher powers, the end of the world, and people becoming stars.

Shortly after, Betsey dies and the grief-stricken Holly stumbles out into the street. As choral music plays in the background, Holly falls to her knees and we see what looks like stars in her eyes. She then starts to glow and we can assume that she disintegrates and becomes a star, as Holly suggested. Or did she?

Did she become a star?  Did the end of the world happen, with Holly disintegrating just like everybody else? Or was Holly seeing things, perhaps because of the grief that had overtaken her?

If you’re looking for a direct answer, we’re afraid there isn’t one. It would appear that the director Ruth Paxton intended the film to end on an ambiguous note, so it’s up to you to decide if Holly’s final moments are to do with the end of the world or the end of her sanity.

As Paxton says in this interview with Signal Horizon, “At the end, it doesn’t really matter, just that it’s over.”

This is quite frustrating we know as we are left with an inconclusive ending.

Still, if you do see this film, be sure to share your own suggestions for what happened to Holly, especially if you can make sense of this complicated and bewildering story.


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17 thoughts on “‘A Banquet’ Ending Explained: What happens to Holly?”

  1. I’m reading all the comments about this movie. And I’m asking myself, what movie are you all watching? Some has said the mother, Holly, did something to the father. When it does not show that. When the movie came on you see the father being taken care of by the wife. He apparently has a illness that has him bedridden. He appears to have difficulty swallowing and he has minimal moving. I would think maybe he’s suffering from MS or possibly some auto immune disease. In either case, he doesn’t seem to be I’ll due to the wife doing anything. There are loads of symbolism in this movie. The first is when the mixture in the blender turns red as the wife is making a shake at the same time as the father poisons himself. Some commenters say she was poisoning him. That thinking doesn’t follow the narrative. Now the trouble really began when Betsy went to that party where she drank alcohol and did a line of cocaine that could have been ĺaced with other drugs. Especially seeing as how she may have snorted up a foreign object. In which she had a bad response from that little hit. This is when she started to show psychotic behavior. This movie leaves the viewer up to their own interpretation. I just ask that you all watch the movie again then tell us what you think.

  2. This Movie made me so Angry and Sick that I Threw up when the daughter died!!!! What the HELL IS WRONG WITH THE IGNORANT PERSON – That wrote this Supposed Horror Movie Because you throw a Big Blood Red Moon In There For Effect.. The Mother killed her own husband basically tho he did take his life to stop her poisoning him and his continued agony.. Now the daughter saw the dad when passed and figured out what her mom was doing – during a full Red Moon ( Natural Occurrence ) So she is horrified to have to accept this and has some kind of mental break .. Here’s the thing that mother let her daughter DIE , I could go on and on and on . My son at 15 almost died of Anorexia and the Literal Hell I went through and his older brother trying every Dr , trying to figure out why he changed and within 6 months of entering the 9th grade he went from 150 pounds in 6 months to 80 .. I fought with my son , climbed in hot burn your skin off showers that he took constantly , he wouldn’t let me or his brother cook or clean or touch anything . I watched my Wonderful Smart Son that had always been a great student , son , brother , loved sports and his friends – DISAPPEAR- I would climb in the shower in my clothes just so he would stop scrubbing whatever “ fat” or “shame” he thought he was and the shame that he felt the pain , anger and sadness all in his eyes and he would not tell anyone why !!! For over a year I would take him to his pediatrician for blood work , weight check , a therapist , you name it I tried . But with boys , there’s not much information back in 2000 to help boys with Anorexia it’s supposedly more of a girl/women thing … Well it’s not , it’s just not talked about like it’s done thing for boys or men or anyone really to be ashamed of. In the end of my horrific Nightmare ok so much happened before what came I can’t even write about , but he passed out in the bathroom and was rushed to a hospital near by where myself my older Son and my ex mother in law stood watching my Son slowly die , his body shut down and my son screaming for me to help his brother and he did die for a few minutes and then on my knee’s that got his heartbeat back , was in a comma and then med-flighted to a Big City Hospital where he was in a COMA for 4 days and on that day the Dr’s wanted to talk about long term care if he didn’t wake up soon, his brain activity was ok but he wasn’t waking up . The next day I went into ICU – I leaned down to my son and instead of crying and begging him to come back to me , I said to him to get the FU** Up that there was NO WAY that I could live without him , without his smile and that his older brother his grandparents and so many others needed and loved him but that I refused to let him just go and leave me ( I had him at 19) I had his older brother at 16.. We loved each other and being a Single mother was hard but I didn’t have them to loose them or live without either of them . I am not that strong . But this horrible , despicable, SICK AND TWISTED CRAP – Is not a Movie , it was in a different story are real story of a Son that something happened to him and his private school that much I do know. But after he woke up from the Coma he was in the hospital for a month and after that I had to put him into an eating disorders clinic that honestly had all girls in it.. My son for the first time in his life at 15 told me he hated me . So So much more to this story of my Son’s but I only shared this much because this movie is triggering and what if I had watched it with him??? How many other kids, teens – regardless of boy/girl – Man/Women this has and still is very prevalent in todays society that seems to turn a blind eye . Just please please take this movie off any and all streaming sights.. Anyone that has gone through this and recovered or is going through this now , I assure you it’s very damaging and will bring up terrible memories and or worse.. I BEG YOU as a Mother and Human Being that every day my son looks in the mirror ( he is a FireFighter Now) but he still has that fight with himself . He is Healthy and eats well obviously , allows only one cheat day a week, but I assure you whatever happened to him to make him HATE himself ( he got a therapist for 4 years after leaving the clinic) that made a huge difference but I still have pictures from that time and I found a few old T-shirts that he wore at 15 and 16 that fit my 10 year old grandson so please just see this horrible movie for what it truly is , I’m wrong it’s a Horror Movie , for me my own personal horror movie that brought up the whole horrible years and hospitals and just you don’t understand , was not just about refusing to eat.. I thought my son was going to die before he went to the hospital , during his time in the coma and even after coming home again and it was a struggle still to get him to eat much at all and a lot of what went on in the house he ( thankfully ) doesn’t remember or blocked out.. But I have Never Ever Forgotten What it was like to watch my son hurt himself try to stop it and trying to find help and feeling so helpless and his brother even blaming himself that he should have known but how do you know when you ask or beg to know why and your son looks right thru you like he doesn’t see you and avoids mirrors and covered up in baggy clothes and try and hurt himself and us rolling around on the floor so he doesn’t kill himself – just please take this movie down , this is not right in any way shape or form and it will only hurt others , it’s not ok to let your child or loved one or whomever do that and worse to themselves and again she encouraged it people the delusions and being understanding . I was not understanding I wanted it to be gone to take it onto myself , I wanted to be the one hurting and punishing themselves for whatever he suffered and just wouldn’t or couldn’t say …. You NEVER EVER – Want to see your child/children or anyone you Love or Care for suffer this horrible disease.. It’s Not Ok – But It Is A Horror Story – But told all Wrong – Nothing is right with this movie not one dam but. This is not Love in any way , it’s sick.. I Believe in Freedom Of Speech but again this is not helpful it’s harmful and deadly..

  3. If watch the very end you will see the lights on the cars start to blink (as if car alarms are going off) – so something physical did indeed happen

  4. Waste of time. The ending sucked so bad. All that build up to be left empty. I will steer clear of the Director’s movie in the future.

  5. So
    I took that the mother caused her husbands paralysis/sickness by giving him some plant that she grew in her garden
    He knew death was not coming soon, however, suffering for sure, long and slow
    He killed himself by drinking the bleach/cleaning fluid that the his wife left to close to his bed after cleaning his mess
    She went to put this mysterious plant thats making him suffer into a blender to feed him more and it turns red as he is dying
    Whatever gains were being sought/awarded from his suffering are now gone
    The mother has been feeding this plant to her family but the daughter now knows not to eat it, so she completely stops eating
    She tells her friend Dominic not to eat with them and why (whatever the mother is feeding her family and what it does) Dominic leaves abruptly
    Finances are becoming a thing thats struggled with (Im having trouble tying it in with a realistic approach)
    Eventually the mother can no longer feed this plant/thing to her family, or feed her family to this plant/ thing
    And her world is destroyed
    My brain goes in this direction
    But I dont like the supernatural turn
    But I cant give it a realistic thread to tie it all in unless I truly rewrite each narrative with just a bit of a personal tweak

  6. Life is a virtual reality. Betsey died of natural causes (starvation) within this reality. Her “game” was over and she got to go back to where we come here from. She knew this would happen for us all because her deep despair sparked her own enlightened state. Her question of “what’s the point to all of this?” was answered in her enlightened state. There isn’t one other than love. She chose to end her game. Then her mother became so stricken with grief and despair at the end that she too sparked her own enlightenment. She realized that it’s not that serious and it’s over quick. Then we go back to the beautiful place we came here from and the game is over. Her mission was to show a mothers love and she succeeded.

  7. I just wasted precious time watching this movie. I will say something that had me thinking( watch out! Ha!) was the story the grandmother told about how she caught Betsey rehearsing what she was going to do to be able to sleep with her grandparents. At the end of the movie Betsey apologies for causing trouble for her mom and sister and saying she was the special one. Also screaming she lied and needed an ambulance. Anorexia will kill you for sure. Not sure about the glowing but though. I give this movie a 0.

  8. I believe It is to show that she loved her daughter so much that she believed her completely to the point it made it happen.the truth is in the eye of the beholder.we set our intention to make somethin happen.if u believe with all your hart u r chosen for something when you die that’s we’re your conciounce will take you when your no longer attached to the physical realm through a body.

  9. So yes,this type of ending is so very frustrating and not a cool way to get people to think for themselves. It diminishes the weight of the story for me at least.
    I do however,believe in the supernatural. I wonder if it was anorexia how did Betsey live for six whole months without eating? I’d like to think that in the end things do matter and they’re not just over.

  10. The father commits suicide by drinking bleach, not from choking on his food. Kind of an important detail to miss…

  11. Hey, yea, the ending was very frustrating. I wasn’t overly satisfied with the film as a whole as it was kinda abstract. Thanks for responding – I’m sure more people share your view!

  12. Wow, what a…word I can’t say cause I’ll get deleted and censored if I do by the you know what’s and the you know who’s, Ruth Paxton is.

    What kind of person/director ends their film the way she did, which is really irritating and really irritates people, you know what I’m talking about. Not a open ending or a could be over, could be continued type of ending, you know for a sequel to be made, but that just ambiguous, no for sure answer, leave you guessing ending. Then, when the director is asked about it, they say, “At the end, it doesn’t really matter, just that it’s over.” What? Are you serious? It’s human nature to want closure and an ending and to just do something like that? That’s just yeah you know what I wanna say here.

  13. Ok, you need to go fix the two paragraphs that starts with, “Shortly after, Betsey dies and the grief-stricken Holly runs out into the street.” First off, Holly didn’t run out into the street so much as walk/stumble out to the street. She doesn’t burn up and disintegrate. She more starts to kind of glow then screen white washes out. You never see her burning or disintegrating.

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