on chesil beach

DIRECTOR: dominic cooke (debut)
STARRING: saoirse ronan, billy howle, emily watson, and adrian scarborough

 

REVIEWER: emily carter

In 1962, newlyweds Edward and Florence, both in their early 20s and also both virgins, spend their honeymoon preoccupied and terrified by the upcoming consummation of their marriage.

When things crumble on a fateful wedding night, does a romance pick up and carry on or fall apart before it can even really begin? On Chesil Beach has all the sweet moments of a romance, and the real torment of a drama.

 

On Chesil Beach is adapted from Ian McEwan's novel and follows Florence and Edward's sweet courtship, right up until their wedding night. On the fateful evening, Florence is faced with a crippling fear of physical intimacy for the first time.  

 

Starring the unmistakably magnificent Saoirse Ronan as Florence Ponting, a university graduate, proper and passionate about politics, and Billy Howle - unforgettable as Edward Mayhew. The couple meet in 1962 and have a perfect and picturesque courtship. From different classes of society and with different perspectives on many things, they make an unlikely pair - but perfect nonetheless. When people talk about couples who complement each other, Florence and Edward is exactly what I picture and it looks like they have a love that can conquer all.

 

Woven throughout the happenings of their honeymoon, we're taken on a journey through their courtship, family dynamics and just how their romance blossomed. It can't be denied that this film is about sex and all the expectations and societal pressures surrounding it, but it was everything else around this that captured me most. The sub-stories like Edward's brain-damaged mother who paints remarkably, Florence's harsh mother and cold father, Florence's approach to her music and how she completely morphs when she is with her quartet, and what exactly are the important parts of being a loving couple.

 

I've never encountered Billy Howle before, but his portrayal of Edward was impeccable. He wears every complicated emotion and your heart swells and breaks with his - I hope to see more of him in major films!

 

A film that has you pondering the pressure of physical intimacy and whether love and lasting relationships can exist outside of it. Beautiful on so many levels - a must see!

★★★★

★★★★

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