ON CHESIL BEACH

Cert 15 110mins Cert 3

A marriage heads for the rocks in this tasteful and thoughtful drama of love, desire and regret.

Saoirse Ronan and Billy Howle play newlyweds spending their wedding night in a beachside hotel, but awkwardness in the bedroom has serious implications for their relationship.

It’s a poignant, fragile and wistful tale from award-winning writer Ian McEwan, which he adapted from his own 2007 novella.

The beautiful Dorset coast is photographed with a suitably chilly air as the story wades into strong emotional currents. It offers sympathy to the central characters while hinting at dark tides in their past. 

Recently Oscar nominated for best actress for Lady Bird, Ronan is painfully vulnerable as the reticent Florence. It’s her second adaptation of McEwan’s work after 2007’s, Atonement, for which she was also Oscar nominated.

Howle has to work extremely hard to keep up with the Irish actress, while Emily Watson, Anne-Marie Duff and Samuel West appear as in-laws who stick their oar in.

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