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On Chesil Beach (2017)

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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.


Dominic Cooke


Ian McEwan (screenplay), Ian McEwan (novel)





Cast overview, first billed only:
Billy Howle ... Edward Mayhew
Saoirse Ronan ... Florence Ponting
Andy Burse Andy Burse ... Waiter One
Rasmus Hardiker ... Waiter Two
Anne-Marie Duff ... Marjorie Mayhew
Adrian Scarborough ... Lionel Mayhew
Mia Burgess Mia Burgess ... Harriet Mayhew
Anna Burgess Anna Burgess ... Anne Mayhew
Emily Watson ... Violet Ponting
Bebe Cave Bebe Cave ... Ruth Ponting
Samuel West ... Geoffrey Ponting
John Ramm John Ramm ... Postman Terry
Barney Iley Barney Iley ... Timothy
Mark Donald Mark Donald ... Charles
Imogen Daines ... Jenny

Saoirse Ronan Through the Years

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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, this movie explores sex and the societal pressure that can accompany physical intimacy, leading to an awkward and fateful wedding night. This movie features Saoirse Ronan, Billy Howle, Anne-Marie Duff, Adrian Scarborough, Emily Watson, and Samuel West.

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


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


Drama | Music | Romance

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for some sexual content and nudity | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »

Did You Know?


Dominic Cooke's theatrical movie directorial debut. See more »


In the tennis match between Edward and Florence's father (Geoffrey), they're either counting the games wrong or not alternating service properly. Edward begins serving at the start of the third set, so he should be serving when the game score is even. We immediately jump forward to a later game in which Geoffrey is serving. Geoffrey loses the game (for a change), and Edward announces the score as 1-4 before serving, which means he is now serving when the game score is odd.

It's also slightly off that Geoffrey starts serving the first set, and then Geoffrey begins serving the third set after 12 games. This, however, could simply be the result of Geoffrey letting Edward begin serving the third set, out-of-order and out of strict compliance with the rules, as a sop after beating him 6-0, 6-0 in the first two sets. See more »


Edward Mayhew: [about his mother] When he used this horrible phrase, everything changed. Brain-damaged. Suddenly I saw her the way other people did.
Florence Ponting: That must have been awful. You're always very kind to her. My mother just pretends to be brain-damaged.
See more »


Features A Taste of Honey (1961) See more »

User Reviews

Touching Story Hampered By A clunky Script.
31 May 2018 | by PairicSee all my reviews

On Chesil Beach: The film opens with Florence (Saoirse Ronan) and Edward (Billy Howle) strolling along the eponymous beach, they have just been married that day. Returning to their hotel room a pair of piss taking waiters insist on hanging around serving the silver service meal. This adds to the couples nervousness as both seem to be inexperienced sexually which apparently wasn't unusual for university graduates in the UK in 1962.

There then follows a series of flashbacks, not in chronological order, as the attempt to consummate the marriage continues. They first met at a CND meeting in Oxford, Edward wandered in literally by accident but it was love at first sight. Not at all corny, you can literally see Cupid's Arrows crossing the room. Florence offers Edward a booklet on the likely results of a H-Bomb hitting Oxford, Edward says it sounds like a good idea.

Florence has a first in Music from Oxford, Edward's first is in History from UCL This makes Florence's mother Violet (Emily Watson) wonder if his parents are from a tradesman background and her factory owner father Geoffrey (Samuel West) is equally snobby albeit in a more restrained manner. Edward's father Lionel (Adrian Scarborough) is an engineer and his mother Marjorie (Anne-Marie Duff) is an artist but suffers from an acquired brain injury and is prone to acting unpredictably.

There is some good acting especially by Anne-Marie Duff but the thespians are hampered by a screenplay which hasn't been fully translated from novel to film, even though novelist Ian McEwan has written the adaptation. The chopped up nature of the flashbacks in this instance also hamper the development of a coherent narrative. This is still a touching story of love blighted by inexperience with some dark secrets also implied in the background. 7/10.

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Official Sites:

Official site [Japan]





Release Date:

18 May 2018 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

On Chesil Beach See more »


Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$35,765, 20 May 2018

Gross USA:


Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

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Company Credits

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Technical Specs




Aspect Ratio:

2.39 : 1
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