On Chesil Beach

 (374)6.31 h 50 min2018R
In 1962 England, a young couple finds their idyllic romance colliding with issues of sexual freedom and societal pressure, leading to an awkward and fateful wedding night.
Directors
Dominic Cooke
Starring
Billy HowleSamuel WestEmily Watson
Genres
DramaAction
Subtitles
English [CC]
Audio languages
English
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More details

Supporting actors
Saoirse RonanAdrian ScarboroughAnne-Marie Duff
Producers
Stephen WoolleyElizabeth Karlsen
Studio
Bleecker Street
Rating
R (Restricted)
Content advisory
Drug usefoul languagenuditysexual contentviolence
Purchase rights
Stream instantly Details
Format
Prime Video (streaming online video)
Devices
Available to watch on supported devices

Reviews

3.7 out of 5 stars

374 global ratings

  1. 44% of reviews have 5 stars
  2. 18% of reviews have 4 stars
  3. 15% of reviews have 3 stars
  4. 9% of reviews have 2 stars
  5. 14% of reviews have 1 stars

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Top reviews from the United States

Danielle MarieReviewed in the United States on October 11, 2018
4.0 out of 5 stars
Things are not always what they appear to be
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I am 70 years of age. Born in August 1948 in upstate New York, USA. I was 13 years of age when I went to a local public library with another friend, to inquire about "SEX." We knew that we would not get help from the librarian present at the time, so we meander about until we found books marked "adult topics section." Bingo! We found several books with graphic (pencil art), descriptions of the activities in question. Roughly 2 hours later, we both agreed that we understood the principles of such an activity or at best the basics of function.

We both knew that we would not engage in this activity until much later in life. Neither of us was interested in the other and would never really obtain that interest. As friends go, we maintained the friendship of youthful innocence while showing a smirk or two on occasion as others verbally pretended that they knew the subject well from experience. Our library adventure would remain between the two of us and to my knowledge it has remained that way for the most part.

I enjoyed the "theatrical production" by the BBC. They make high-quality films as a routine process. In this case, I really think that the two main characters were more theatrical than realistic for the time period. In a BBC series made for television called, "Call the Midwife," the series takes us through the late 1940's and forward. People knew then how to make babies! While it may not have been loudly discussed, I really have a hard time thinking that two educated people of the time would not be more educated on the subject. For this I again say, it was more theatrical than true to the times that I lived through in the USA. I am not British so I cannot speak for them. In the 1950's, people were worrying about Elvis Presley wiggling his hips about of television. Why? Too sexual and the young people knew all about it! Regardless of your class or education, it was not all that "top secret" in my home. My mother had her last child at age 42. 4 children. I was number 2. Age 11 when little sister was born. No cabbage patch, flower bed or stork! Two years later I was well read on the topic in my opinion at age 13. First sex was at age 21 with my spouse of 40 years. More than you want to know for a movie review I suppose.
69 people found this helpful
Dix88Reviewed in the United States on September 26, 2018
5.0 out of 5 stars
Elegantly filmed
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I am baffled by all the negative reviews here. I thought Everyone did a brilliant job of acting. This is not a face-paced Hollywood Superhero movie. It is slowly & beautifully filmed--in the English countryside, city and On Chesil Beach.
The musical score veers between classical (a lot of Mozart) which is Florence's realm & blues/jazz, which is Edward's world. Lovely scenes of Florence with her string quartet/trio (she is the obvious leader). Hep scene in a Beatnik night club with Edward going wild.
Billy Howle as Edward, Saoirse Ronan as Florence, Emily Watson as Florence's mother, Bebe Cave as Florence's sister, Samuel West as Florence's father---all do a Brilliant job of acting.
Anne Marie Duff is especially touching as Edward's mother. She possibly has manic depression (seen naked in the back garden, shouting at birds) She definitely later gets hit in the head in a horrific train accident & is "brain damaged." Despite this, she continues to paint beautifully. Adrian Scarborough is lovely as Edward's father. He is loving toward his wife and children. He urges Edward to "marry that woman" after Florence orchestrates a clean-up of the cluttered, dirty home which is that way because the mother is off on flights of fancy. (Wondering why the twins didn't pitch in & help clean up? Or Edward? Of course, in the times, cleaning was always "mother's job."
Florence & Edward meet while at university (she studying music, him getting a "first" in history). They have an Exuberant, joyful romance before marrying. I love these characters!!
Some of the negative comments are about the fact that Florence did not tell Edward of her dislike for sex before the wedding. I think these people are placing today's sexual freeness on people in the early 60s. Edward & Florence were raised in the 1950s. Very few people (aside from Beatniks) talked about sex back then. Very few women ever had sex before marriage (although there was a wild period during WWII where those morals went by the wayside--"Let's do it now, tomorrow may never arrive" was the idea.
There is a hint (not flagrant) that Florence has been sexual abused by her father. Just once? Or was it ongoing? If ongoing, why was she so shocked when reading the sex manual? It was as if she had no idea what happened between men & women. But she could have blocked the abuse out. Or maybe it was "just" touching (still horrible).
Anway SPOILERS

On their wedding night, Florence realises she does Not like sex at all. It disgusts her. (To be fair, I think Most woman have a similar reaction to first-time sex. It is messy. It is painful. In fact, F. Scott Fitzgerald himself hated the messiness of sex & he was the premier author during his coined "Jazz Age."
She suggests they live as man & wife but for Edward to go out & about with other women & leave her totally out of that. He is understandably Infuriated. They part, the marriage unconsummated.
Years later, Edward (who owns a small records shop & meets what seems to be Florence's daughter there) hears on the radio that Florence's musical group is playing its last concert so he goes, sits in the seat he told he'd sit in (back when they were young & so in love) when her quartet got famous. The make-up on Saorise is OK, making her a beautiful older woman. But the make-up on Edward is Horrible. It looks like clay just slapped on. They'd have done better finding an older man to play both roles. This is the Only negative about this movie, for me. And that final scene was a tear jerker!
53 people found this helpful
Adrienne! Reviewed in the United States on October 9, 2018
5.0 out of 5 stars
Great but so sad
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Extremely sad. I enjoyed the movie, though. I cried multiple times throughout it. As a millennial, it’s so hard to imagine couples not having “the talk” before marriage. I believe she had been sexually abused in her childhood but had repressed the memory. The way that Edward met her daughter near the end made me cry- I imagine that pain would leave most in a very bad way. What a very depressing movie centered around poor communication, young love, and a lifetime of regret.
29 people found this helpful
sefriendlyguyReviewed in the United States on April 8, 2019
4.0 out of 5 stars
LOVE GONE WRONG & MISTAKES MADE
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THIS STORY IS SET IN 1962, ITS IMPORTAN!
ONE SPOILER, I CAN SAY WITHOUT GIVEN AWAY THE SHOW, ALL THE DATES ARE
VERY IMPORTANT TO THE SHOW,
A YOUNG LADY THAT LIVES WITH HER PARENTS, THATS WELL OFF
AND HER DAD THAT RUNS HIS OWN MANUFACTURER PLANT, AS SHE IS GROWING UP
SHE DECIDES ITS TIME TO MEET A MAN AND HAVE A CHILD LIKE MOST LADIES DO
BUT, SHE HAS NO IDEA ABOUT WHAT HAPPENS WITH MARRIAGE AND HOW THINGS HAPPEN
SHE HAS ALWAYS BEEN INTO MUSIC, IN FACT SHE IS A VIOLINIST AND SHE IS GOOD AT IT
SHE STARTS A QUARTET OF FOUR THREE WOMEN AND ONE GUY, HE ALWAYS ASK HER OUT
ON A DATE AFTER EVERY PRACTICE, SHE NEVER AGREES AND THEN ONE DAY SHE ACCIDENTALLY
MEETS A GOOD LOOKING YOUNG MAN HER AGE AND HE IS QUIET FUNNY, BUT HE IS NOT INTO
MUSIC LIKE HER, BUT SHE HAS FEEL IN LOVE AND READY TO SEE IF THIS COULD BE THE MAN
SHE SPENDS HER LIFE WITH, THEY END UP GETTING MARRIED AND THEY GO TO A HOTEL ROOM
DOWN BY THE BEACH AND HE WANTS TO MAKE LOVE TO HIS NEW WIFE AND SHE HAS NO IDEA
WHAT TO DO HOW TO DEAL WITH IT, THE SHOW FAST FORWARDS TO, BEFORE THEY GOT MARRIED
AND SHE WAS AT HOME AND SHE READ A BOOK (A SEX GUIDE) ON HOW A MAN ENTERS A WOMEN
AND SHE SHOULD DO, THINGS DON'T WORK OUT WELL AND THEY WERE MARRIED FOR 6 HOURS
AND THEY GO THERE OWN WAY AND IN 1975 HE IS RUNNING HIS OWN RECORD STORE
WHEN A VERY YOUNG LADY COMES IN AND ASK FOR A CHUCK BERRY RECORD AND REALIZES , THATS HIS DAUGHTER , HE GIVES IT TO HER AND HE HAS NO IDEA WHO HE IS AND LATER IN 2007
HE IS AT HOME LISTENING TO THE RADIO WHILE MAKING HIMSELF SUPPER WHEN HEARS
FLORENCE IS RETIRING AND PLAYING HER LAST PIANO CONCERT WITH HER QUARTET,
AND THEN YOU SEE HER AND HER 3 GROWN KIDS AND THERE KIDS
AND HE SITS IN THE CROWD QUIETLY JUST TO SEE HER AFTER ALL THESE YEARS
NOW, YOU NEED TO SEE WHAT HAPPENS IF AND WHEN SHE REALIZES HE IS THERE
THEN THE SHOW FLASHES BACK TO THAT FAITHFUL DAY ON THE BEACH
IT WILL BRING OUT A TEAR AND MAKE YOU WISH YOU NEVER MAKE A MISTAKE THIS!
3 people found this helpful
Amazon CustomerReviewed in the United States on November 21, 2018
5.0 out of 5 stars
A Gem!
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It's been a long time since I watched a movie online from beginning to end without pulling the cord and bailing out.
This film truly stirred my emotions and the acting was superlative on all fronts. Even the ending was thoughtful and kept the mood of the film intact. I tried to place myself in Edward's dilemma when he discovers on his wedding night that he married a woman who will never fulfill her conjugal vows. I pondered what would I have done in his position. He had a right to be angry and cheated. Florence played the role of the frigid protagonist to perfection and I truly felt her pain and agony for a love misbegotten. There was no obvious right or wrong party in this drama and often that's the case in real life tragedies. Did Edward make the right choice? Perhaps a sequel could answer that question. The filming on the lovely countryside of England's shore plus the ever beautiful score of Mozart's quartet lent perfection to a first rate film that deserves accolades.
6 people found this helpful
Amazon CustomerReviewed in the United States on September 18, 2018
5.0 out of 5 stars
Brilliant
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Amazing movie, brilliant characters and actors!
16 people found this helpful
hawthorne woodReviewed in the United States on October 20, 2018
5.0 out of 5 stars
Five stars for brilliant acting/directing.
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I read the book and, strangely, as is not usual for me, found the film to be more affecting. The performances by the two main characters was dazzlingly measured and controlled, with sadness and tragedy lurking just beneath the skin, in their facial ticks, hopeful smiles, bewildered glances. The direction was minimalist and timed for the perfect, impactful ending. I won't forget this film any time soon. Should win many awards. "Sensitive" is an understatement, to describe it.
4 people found this helpful
alltatupReviewed in the United States on October 28, 2018
1.0 out of 5 stars
THE WORST OF BRITISH MELODRAMA
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I could barely sit through the entire movie it was so plodding. I was so put off by the handling of the topic, to wit, two virgins get married without knowing anything about sex, have a horrible first try at it and break up afterwards. To watch Edward regretting his decision for the rest of his life was about as maudlin as it gets. If this was supposed to be a brutally frank movie, it failed to move me in any way other than to make me feel embarrassed for the people who made it.
6 people found this helpful
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