Review of ON CHESIL BEACH – Rated R

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ON CHESIL BEACH – Rated R – 1 hr. 50 mins.

Director: Dominic Cooke

Writer of Novel/Screenplay: Ian McEwan

Starring: Saoirse Ronan, Emily Watson, Samuel West and Billy Howle

Based on the Novel and Screenplay by Ian McEwan, we meet the young, beautiful and talented violinist Florence (Saoirse Ronan), being swept off her feet by the extremely handsome, yet somewhat socially awkward Edward Mayhew (Billy Howle). As their infatuation for one another continues to grow, it seems that it’s time for Edward to “pop the question”, exacerbating Florence’s growing tensions about giving up her present life for marriage, and the growing anxiety she is having about “the wedding night”.

When the day has finally arrived, and Florence and Edward head to Chesil Beach to start their lives together as husband and wife, it seems that not even the beauty and serenity of Chesil Beach can wash away Florence’s discontentment with this entire situation. Loving Edward, but not wishing to share her bed with him every night…Edward is flabbergasted by the situation that has arisen, having never fathomed in a hundred years that his wife would not want to be in a sexual relationship once marriage vows were exchanged. Now, Edward must content with staying with his less than promiscuous new wife, and face the anguish that apparently lies ahead for both of them if they stay together, based solely on the love they do truly have for one another, but without the sexual part of their relationship, which Edward needs, and desperately wants for his future…

I give ON CHESIL BEACH a rating of WAIT AND CATCH THIS FILM ON NETFLIX or STREAMING: I so love Saoirse Ronan, and absolutely adored her 2015’s BROOKLYN, and couldn’t get enough of her in last year’s LADY BIRD! But sadly, this time around, her stoic and very frigid performance as Florence, wasn’t as enjoyable to view as her previous films. Howle, on the other hand, was perfectly cast as the dotting and loving boyfriend, and then new husband, only to have all his dreams dashed on his wedding night. Sad too, was the way this film seemed to really drag on in places, with a story line that didn’t make the most of the fabulous actors that were cast to play within its frames. I was so hoping with McEwan writing the screenplay of his own novel, that the tension would be thick, and the characters illuminating throughout, but as it all concluded…I was just sad for the characters who ended up never fulfilling the lives they could have, had they stayed together…

Kathy Kaiser