About the film
Director: Dominic Cooke
Actors: Saoirse Ronan, Billy HowleOn Chesil Beach is the handsome new drama adapted for screen by Ian McEwan (Atonement) from his 2007 novella of love gone wrong and is the debut feature from four-time Olivier Award-winning theatre director Dominic Cooke.
The year is 1962. Saoirse Ronan, (beguiling, as always) is Florence Ponting, a confused and conflicted young woman with the hint of a long buried dark secret. The increasingly watchable Billy Howle, (Dunkirk) is Edward Mayhew, a young man from a working-class background who finds himself in over his head and married too soon to be able to handle it all.
She is a violinist in a string quartet; he is a historian with a passion for Rock and Roll. She’s rich, he’s not. The two young, unprepared newlyweds head to a nice little hotel on Chesil Beach in Dorset for their honeymoon and as they suffer through a disastrous honeymoon night, your heart swells in sorrow and sympathy for them. The early sexual omens are not good.
The film is rooted in the early-’60s gray zone — a moment lodged between the conservatism of the ’50s and the dawn of a new world.
For Florence and Edward, the '60s is not quite swinging, and Middle England is still using a sex manual to navigate the sticky business between the sheets.
Indeed, On Chesil Beach is the lovely, tender, gorgeous, tragic, melodramatic love story you didn’t know you’d been waiting for.