A true story of survival, as a young couple's chance encounter leads them first to love, and then on the adventure of a lifetime as they face one of the most catastrophic hurricanes in recorded history.
A woman returns to her Orthodox Jewish community that shunned her for her attraction to a female childhood friend. Once back, their passions reignite as they explore the boundaries of faith and sexuality.
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.
On Chesil Beach might be as smooth and glossy as a pebble but gets washed away by soppiness.
Having only watched the trailer once and not acknowledging the existence of its source material, I was going into this pretty open minded. Period romantic dramas are not exactly the reason why I wake up in the morning, nevertheless I came out of the screening feeling rather pleasant. It tells the story of a newly married couple who potentially destroy their marriage due to fears of physical intimate relations. Exploring frigidity is rather rare, particularly for a romance because sex sells apparently, and so I found myself compelled to dive into the psychological reasoning for Florence's lack of sexual endeavours. It's a deceptively rich story which has more to say beneath the surface than it does through the clean direction and excellent acting. Cooke's directorial debut offers a tantalising question: can you love someone without having physical interaction? A surprisingly relatable question. Weighing in on the emotional and tangible levels of love, McEwan (who also wrote the novel) crafts a script comprising of subtle warmth. The kind of lukewarm temperature you would feel when dipping your toes into the sea. At first, it may look like a drama shifting between the most awkward sex scene ever and flashbacks establishing the origins of their relationship, but there's more lurking underneath. It's understated. The non-linear narrative, while slightly contrived, does make the story that little bit more exciting. I appreciate the upkeep for authenticity by actually filming on Chesil Beach in Dorset. Ronan and Howle projected natural chemistry and bounced off each other well, even if the execution of some of the dialogue felt too mechanical. The epilogue however was completely unnecessary and negated the nuanced atmosphere that was created beforehand. The forced melodrama, whilst beautiful to watch, just didn't fit with the complexity of their relationship. So whilst there are some stumbles, it's constructed upon layers of pebbles to create a beautifully acted picturesque romance.
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