On Chesil Beach

Certificate 15

(2017) 110 mins

Director: Dominic Cooke
Writer: Ian McEwan, from his own novel
Cinematography: Sean Bobbitt
Production Design: Suzie Davies
Music: Dan Jones


Adapted by Ian McEwan from his bestselling novel, the drama centers on Florence (Saoirse Ronan) and Edward (Billy Howle), a young couple of drastically different backgrounds in the summer of 1962. She is a talented and ambitious classical musician from a well-to-do family and he is a clever young man from humbler origins. Both have first-class degrees and, in consequence, no small opinion of themselves. Following the pair through their idyllic courtship, the film explores sex and the societal pressure that can accompany physical intimacy, leading to an awkward and fateful wedding night. Also starring Anne-Marie Duff and Adrian Scarborough as Edward’s parents, and Emily Watson and Samuel West as Florence’s.

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The overwhelming English sadness of Ian McEwan’s novella has been transferred to the movie screen, adapted by the author and directed with scrupulous sensitivity and care by Dominic Cooke, known for his stage work and making his feature film debut here. It is a tender and valuable film, well acted, with a shrewd eye for how naive you can be in your early 20s, how impatient, how pompous, how tragicomically un-self-aware.”  The Guardian

The soundtrack perfectly mimics the stories of our leads, with rebellious rock‘n’roll battling against plaintive chamber music. A strong directorial debut from Cooke and consummate performances from Ronan and Howle deliver a restrained yet touching adaptation of McEwan’s work, which picks apart the dizzying highs, lonely lows and the cruel what-ifs of an unfulfilled love.”  The Upcoming

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