On Chesil Beach - 4.5 Stars
A lavish directorial debut for Dominic Cooke that does justice to Ian McEwan’s excellent novel.
In the early 1960s, a young couple on their honeymoon struggle to physically connect in this sensitive adaptation of Ian McEwan’s acclaimed short novel.
The phrase “emotional insecurity” comes to mind when watching the protagonists’ relationship unfold. It’s awkward and uncomfortable, and honest. Saoirse Ronan and Billy Howle star and capture brilliantly the tension required. McEwan adapted the screenplay from his own novel and while that often ends in disaster he understands better than anyone the implications of the text. The brilliant thing about this film is that the characters have bigger lives than what’s demonstrate and we brief glimpses of that. This is just one storyline from their lives that we, as an audience get to view. That makes the film more human and ultimately more emotional.
The cinematography is stunning, every frame well lit and carefully planned. It would’ve worked just as well as a silent film - a real testament to both the camera work and acting.
Overall a spellbinding story of heartache, pain and love.
On Chesil Beach releases Jan 19 (UK), April 19 (AUS/NZ) and June 15 (US).
Review by Benjamin Maio Mackay
Screening courtesy of Picture This