On Chesil Beach
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About this movie
Upper-middle-class violinist Florence (the splendid Saiorse Ronan, last seen in Lady Bird) and lower-middle-class rock ‘n’ roll-lover Edward (an impressive Billy Howle) have just been married and are spending their wedding night at a Chesil Beach hotel. This being 1962, that they are both virgins is no surprise, and as they somewhat warily prepare for their first night of love, the stage is set for a powerful series of emotional revelations… With a screenplay by Ian McEwan (who wrote the Man Booker-nominated novel on which the film is based) that makes great use of flashbacks and the period locale, this is dramatic filmmaking at its most intimate and heartbreaking.
"There’s splendid acting across the board and assured direction by [Dominic] Cooke, a stage veteran making his feature debut… [The young couple’s] dazed and contrite expressions speak volumes about themselves and the era. But perhaps most plaintive of all is the deceptively bright seaside locale, captured by the expansive lens of cinematographer Sean Bobbitt, which is at once inviting and distancing… On Chesil Beach evokes a distinct postwar mentality… when keeping up appearances outside the bedroom meant more than what went on inside it."—Peter Howell, Toronto Star