- On Chesil Beach
- Directed by Dominic Cooke
- Written by Ian McEwan
- Starring Saorise Ronan and Billy Howle
- Classification 14A
- 110 minutes
Edward and Florence, newly married and very much in love, arrive at a grand old inn on the Dorset coast for their honeymoon; they’ll leave with a very different understanding of who they are and what they actually want out of life. It’s a film about love and the way it sometimes fails, and one that explores the meaning, and necessity, of intimacy in all its forms.
Ian McEwan adapts his own novel – for my money his best book – and remains faithful to the text for the most part; the few divergences only make the romance that much more tragic. The lead actors are both marvellous; Saoirse Ronan (who, coincidentally, rose to prominence thanks to another McEwan adaptation, Atonement) plays the troubled violinist, Florence, while Dunkirk’s Billy Howle is the kind-yet-anger-prone historian Edward. Yet the film’s most impressive performance might come from director Dominic Cooke, who has delivered an assured, wistful debut.