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Drama - Romantic

On Chesil Beach (2017)

Duration1h 38m
RatingsUK: 15, USA: R, Spain: 7
Source of storyA book of the same name by Ian McEwan
DirectorDominic Cooke
Writers/ScriptIan McEwan
StarringBilly Howle, Saoirse Ronan, Anne-Marie Duff, Emily Watson, Samuel West,
RatingsIMDb: 6.3/10 by 12,000 people.  Rotten Tomatoes: 68% by 170 reviewers. Review2view: 5.5/10.

Summary: A young very newly married couple, who have no mutual sexual experience are in their honeymoon hotel next to Chesil Beach. In flashbacks we see that they met accidentally after Edward was looking for someone to tell that he had gained a first in history. Florence, the bride, is the leader of a classical music quartet and daughter of a successful businessman. They are posh. Edward, a rock enthusiast, is son of a headmaster and an artist, she has been injured in railway accident and has mental problems thereafter. They are middle class. Their collective lack of experience in sexual matters results in Edward’s premature ejaculation and Florence’s revulsion at the result, causing them to have a stand-off down on the beach, to where Florence has retreated. Later we find that Florence has overcome her difficulties and married the male member of the quartet.

Content: While the central theme of the story is sex, there is no nudity although it must be one of the few films to actually feature semen. The couple drink wine with their dinner. In the many flashbacks, at least one of which is a flashback within a flashback, we see Edward with his family, including the accident to his mother, who as a result is not quite with us, and sometimes strips off. Also Florence with her family, once on a boat with her father in which I think we are supposed to gather some sexual impropriety took place. Florence is also seen playing with the quartet quite a bit. Edward and Florence have fairly chaste interaction in a variety of situations and Florence seems to get on with Edward’s mum.

A View: Even though this film was pretty low budget it is unlikely to have made any money, maybe because it is no fun. Florence seems to be revolted by sex, but still has to study a book to find out about it, there seems to be an inconsistency here. Some critics have also wondered how she overcame the problem to marry the male member of the quartet, and shortly afterwards have a child. Honestly I would have liked to see someone else write the script, maybe to overcome the problems which exist in the plot, and provide us with some entertainment as well as embarrassment. One of those movies which you might watch for nothing, but not with your granny.

Saoirse Ronan is a versatile young actress with a considerable filmography. Check out Mary Queen of Scots, Hanna and the fun See How They Run.

About Victor R Gibson

Author of this site three technical books and two novels


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