ON CHESIL BEACH
By Chris Dugopolski
It is 1962 and Florence Ponting (Saoirse Ronan) and Edward Mayhew (Billy Howle) have just married and are spending their wedding night in a quaint hotel on Chesil Beach. This beach is all stones and rocks. They are both very awkward and appear nervous, so they have nervous conversations with each other. We also see various flashbacks for each of them. Edward’s mother has brain damage which occurred when she was standing too close to the end of a platform and got hit by an open door of a train speeding by. . He got a first in History and was heading for college where he was going to become a historian and write books about the lesser characters in history.
The two meet after Edward found out about his first in History and can’t wait to tell someone. So he takes the train to Oxford where he meets Florence at an activist meeting against the “bomb.” Florence is a violinist and she appears to be the lead in a quartet made up of two violins and viola and a Cello. The Cellist has romantic interest in her. Later they turn into a quintet with an additional viola. In one of the flashbacks, Florence takes Edward to the concert hall and promises him she will play the Mozart quintet especially for him and it will be glorious. He promises her that he will sit in the center seat of the third row and yell bravo to her.
In one of the duller moments of the movie, one of the flashbacks shows Edward playing tennis with Florence’s father. They play three sets and Edward only get one point in the entire match, but that appears to bother the father. He is a very bad loser and quite creepy. Also, in this flashback we find out that Edward will be working in the tech factory.
On the wedding night. They eventually get on top of the bed. Florence still has her dress on, and Edward has nothing on but his shirt, but he gets excited too soon and Florence, who is disgusted about the whole idea of sex flees the room. Edward gets dressed in his wedding suit again and follows her. He finds her about two miles down the beach. She tells him that she loves him and to make him happy, it would be all right for him to have sex with other girls, but not her.
This movie was very slow and about half way through I was wondering when it would end, but it has a very good ending which came as a surprise. Also, Billy Howle is adorable in the same type of way the Eddy Redmayne is cute. I think we will see quite a bit more of Billy Howle.
“On Chesil Beach” was directed by Dominic Cooke.
The screenplay was written by Ian McEwan based on his novel by the same name.
It opens this weekend at Plaza Frontenac.