On Chesil Beach (2018) - Rotten Tomatoes

On Chesil Beach (2018)



Critic Consensus: On Chesil Beach presents a well-acted and solidly crafted adaptation of a small yet resonant story with deceptively rich subtext.

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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.

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Saoirse Ronan
as Florence Ponting
Emily Watson
as Violet Ponting
Anne-Marie Duff
as Marjorie Mayhew
Samuel West
as Geoffrey Ponting
Billy Howle
as Edward Mayhew
Bebe Cave
as Ruth Ponting
Adrian Scarborough
as Lionel Mayhew
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News & Interviews for On Chesil Beach

Critic Reviews for On Chesil Beach

All Critics (120) | Top Critics (30)

"On Chesil Beach" is PBS-tasteful in its approach, but its power rests in a restraint that makes what it builds to all the more moving.

June 4, 2018 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…

What had been impossibly sweet becomes simply impossible, and old-fashioned mores prove unsuited to the task of navigating the emotional morass.

June 1, 2018 | Rating: 3/5 | Full Review…

"On Chesil Beach" clumsily deals with the issues it addresses.

June 1, 2018 | Rating: C | Full Review…

What a prestigious, understated, classy inducement to take a nap.

May 25, 2018 | Rating: 2/4 | Full Review…

There's splendid acting across the board and assured direction by Cooke, a stage veteran making his feature debut...

May 24, 2018 | Full Review…

What worked on the page, more or less, struggles on screen...

May 24, 2018 | Rating: 2/4 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for On Chesil Beach

I've always maintained that the things I admire most about movies is their constant ability to surprise me by telling a similar story in a different way. On Chesil Beach is one of those movies that presents a common story, a couple going through marital issues, but in a strikingly bold manner. Not only does the film make some brilliant choices narratively, but its performances and direction come from a refreshingly honest take. Never once did I believe this was a movie couple going through the motions as two actors acting out written sequences. This felt like a real life story being told through flashbacks and a bare bones script. I've never quite seen a film present such a detailed look at first love and first sexual encounter in the way "On Chesil Beach" does. The results are both touching and devastating. I love the way Dominic Cooke slowly but surely presents their "first night" with interlocking flashbacks to flesh out why these people are acting the way they do. On some levels, it's an awkward watch, but others it's an eye opening reminder about the reasons relationships begin and end & vice versa. Released quietly in theaters, it won't likely draw a ton of Oscar buzz, but there are a few scenes that I soon won't forget, in what could be the most earnest romantic film of 2018. 8.6/10

Thomas Drufke
Thomas Drufke

Super Reviewer

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