SWITCH.
MEMBER SIGN IN
    
Keep up-to-date on your favourite artists and movies, track gig and release dates, and join in the conversation.

SEARCH RESULTS FOR
JOIN NOW.

Keep up to date with your favourite artists and new music with SWITCH. It's easy - just follow these steps:

1JOIN up - it's simple and free
 
2FOLLOW artists and films
 
3TRACK events on your personalised calendar
 
review, On Chesil Beach, On, Chesil, Beach, film, movie, latest movies, new movie, movie ratings, current movie reviews, latest films, recent movies, current movies, movie critics, new movie reviews, latest movie reviews, latest movies out, the latest movies, review film, latest cinema releases, Australian reviews, cinema, cinema reviews, Saoirse Ronan, Billy Howle, Emily Watson, Anne-marie Duff, Samuel West, Florence Baker, Dominic Cooke, Drama, History
REVIEW:

ON CHESIL BEACH


Everything You Always Wanted to Know About 1960s Sex (But Were Afraid to Ask)
star, ratingstar, ratingstar, ratingstar, rating
By Jake Watt, 5th November 2017
review, On Chesil Beach, On, Chesil, Beach, film, movie, latest movies, new movie, movie ratings, current movie reviews, latest films, recent movies, current movies, movie critics, new movie reviews, latest movie reviews, latest movies out, the latest movies, review film, latest cinema releases, Australian reviews, cinema, cinema reviews, Saoirse Ronan, Billy Howle, Emily Watson, Anne-marie Duff, Samuel West, Florence Baker, Dominic Cooke, Drama, History
SWITCH logoReview. 

ON CHESIL BEACH

|

SEX IN THE 1960s

CUNARD BRITISH FILM FESTIVAL REVIEW

RELEASE DATE: 26/07/2018
RUN TIME: 1HR 50MIN
CAST: SAOIRSE RONAN
BILLY HOWLE
EMILY WATSON
ANNE-MARIE DUFF
SAMUEL WEST
FLORENCE BAKER
DIRECTOR: DOMINIC COOKE
WRITER: IAN MCEWAN
PRODUCERS: ELIZABETH KARLSEN
STEPHEN WOOLLEY
SCORE: DAN JONES
SWITCH logo
FAST FACTS.
Jake Watt
By Jake Watt, 5th November 2017
stars, ratingstars, ratingstars, ratingstars, rating
Human intercourse. Weirdly-shaped reproductive organs, stuff secreting fluids, the human body changing colour, rushes of brain chemicals - if you described it to someone to whom the idea was completely foreign, it might sound like something from a David Cronenberg horror film. Only one or two generations ago, this is how men and women viewed sex and their bodies.

Adapted from his own 2007 novella by Ian McEwan and directed by first-timer Dominic Cooke, ‘On Chesil Beach’ follows young university graduates and virginal newlyweds Florence (Saoirse Ronan, who previously played Briony Tallis in the film adaptation of McEwan's ‘Atonement’) and Edward (Billy Howle, ‘Dunkirk’, ‘The Sense of an Ending’) on their first night together in a bedroom at a seaside hotel on Chesil Beach in Dorset, in the summer of 1962.

A series of flashbacks outlines Edward and Florence's first encounter, courtship and their drastically different backgrounds, with director Dominic Cooke smoothly telling their backstories when prompted by something the couple says or feels. Florence is from a proudly upscale middle-class family, led by Emily Watson as a haughty mother. Edward’s mother (Anne-Marie Duff) was brain-damaged by an accident (she was struck by the door of a moving train in the film’s most shocking scene), and now sits around, painting and cooking and babbling. Through the strong performances of these supporting actors, you can identify with both of their inexperienced children, who bring the baggage of their families as well as oppressive social convention to the bedroom (with a little bit of humour thrown in).

Eventually, though, ‘On Chesil Beach’ stops being an amusing showcase for daffy parents, rude Dorset waiters and a how-to guide of ways to delay sex and turns into a chronicle of how to make a bad moment incalculably worse. The shift to heavy drama nearly tips the film over – Edward, in particular, is almost too immature to keep relating to.

Eventually, though, ‘On Chesil Beach’ stops being an amusing showcase for daffy parents, rude Dorset waiters and a how-to guide of ways to delay sex and turns into a chronicle of how to make a bad moment incalculably worse.

Cooke demonstrates in ‘On Chesil Beach’ not only how sensitively he can direct actors, but also use the medium as a language based on framing, pacing, editing, and music. Florence, an ambitious musician who is the acknowledged leader of her newly formed string quartet, is accompanied by precise, slightly repressed classical music. Edward has a taste for the period’s emergent rock and roll scene - the opening sequence shows him trying to explain blues chord progressions to Florence who considers Chuck Berry to be “merry” and “bouncy”. Dan Jones’s music track is right on cue between pieces of Schubert and songs by Chuck Berry.

The film is only really hurt by an overly long coda including a time jump to 1975 to a record-store encounter that only involves one of the main characters. A second, even worse, time jump to 2007 occurs for an overly telegraphed ending and the appearance of some shitty old-age makeup over the smooth mugs of its young actors, ‘Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows: Part 2’-style.

A few screenplay hiccups aside, the film is a strong debut from director Dominic Cooke. ‘On Chesil Beach’ is set during a repressed time, and it’s a tale of buttoned-up people. But, long after the film ends, you will still be wondering what they were keeping in check.

COMMENTS
TO LEAVE A COMMENT ON THIS ARTICLE, PLEASE SIGN IN AT THE TOP OF THE PAGE OR CLICK HERE TO JOIN.

© 2011 - 2017 midnightproductions | All rights reserved
© 2011 - 2017 midnightproductions
All rights reserved

Disclaimer | Contact Us