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On Chesil Beach (2017)

R | | Drama, Romance | 18 May 2018 (USA)
1:50 | Trailer
Based on Ian McEwan's novel. In 1962 England, a young couple find their idyllic romance colliding with issues of sexual freedom and societal pressure, leading to an awkward and fateful wedding night.



(screenplay), (novel)
470 ( 101)

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Credited cast:
... Florence Ponting
... Violet Ponting
... Marjorie Mayhew
... Lionel Mayhew
... Edward Mayhew
... Geoffrey Ponting
... Phil
... Waiter 2
... Ruth Ponting
... Young Chloe Morrell
... Wigmore Audience Concert Attendee
... Cinema Couple
Oliver Johnstone ... Ted
Christopher Bowen ... Cricket Captain
... Oxford Academic


Adapted by Ian McEwan from his bestselling novel, the drama centers on a young couple of drastically different backgrounds in the summer of 1962. 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. The film stars Saoirse Ronan, Billy Howle, Anne-Marie Duff, Adrian Scarborough, Emily Watson, and Samuel West.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


This is how the entire course of a life can be changed: by doing nothing


Drama | Romance


R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:



Official Sites:

Official site [Japan]



Release Date:

18 May 2018 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Am Strand  »


Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$35,765, 20 May 2018, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$677,238, 17 June 2018
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

,  »
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Technical Specs



Aspect Ratio:

2.39 : 1
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Did You Know?


Saoirse Ronan said she originally wanted to play Florence Ponting back when the film was first in production, but was too young for the role. See more »


Features A Taste of Honey (1961) See more »

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User Reviews

Beautiful, melancholic romance.
14 June 2018 | by See all my reviews

"Little lamb, Here I am; Come and lick My white neck; Let me pull Your soft wool; Let me kiss Your soft face; Merrily, merrily we welcome in the year." William Blake, from Songs of Innocence Set in 1962, On Chesil Beach is far from 1963 Beach Party with Frankie Avalon and other pre sexual revolution aquatic shenanigans. Chesil is a tightly-wound story of a young Brit couple, Florence (Saoirse Ronan) and Edward (Billy Howle), just married and beyond awkward on the wedding night: dangerously innocent. It's not a comedy, for most of the film is framed by their uncertain movements as he tries to loosen her up (a major challenge) and she tries to get in the mood. Based on a novel and screenplay by the great Ian McEwan, this dramatic romance crystallizes the damaging innocence of the times and the dire need for experience. While 21st-century easy hookup time is not ideal, the danger of being clueless about the power of sex and its mandates is palpable in this star-crossed story. Florence, an upper-middle class musician with a fledgling quartet, is both the scourge of Edward's hopes to be a successful husband and the hope for their love that tries to transcend sexuality. Mozart laces throughout to elevate Darwinian love making, reminding of the ethereal heights to which art can elevate love. Yes, it's a beautifully melancholic romance whose future is endangered by present repressive times, a legacy those of us know well who were taught about the opposite sex by tyrannical and ignorant clericals, who had never been married and were usually virgins. So much is set on the beach with flashbacks to help us understand the demons that it is easy to see the future through the repression of the present. Much of the movie moves through the awkward attempt at first sex, pristine by contemporary standards. Yet, that discomfort is necessary to understand the uncompromising fate of the couple and the tears that will inevitably come. Regardless of where anyone is now, this powerful love story reminds of how deeply we are indebted to sex and how treating it casually or ignorantly inevitably leads to lives of desperation. Although at times On Chesil beach echoes the delicacy of love in Call Me By Your Name and at others by the talk of Richard Linklater's Before series, this romance evokes the innocence of first love and the ruthlessness of experience. Beautifully photographed by Sean Bobbitt, Chesil still owes most of its greatness to Dominic Cooke's direction, where the harshness of failed expectations is tempered by a love that transcends, but cannot denounce, sex. "Break this heavy chain, That does freeze my bones around! Selfish, vain, Eternal bane, That free love with bondage bound." Blake, Songs of Experience

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