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Her mind was blank, she felt she was in disgrace. After a two-day crossing, they were once more in the calm of Carteret harbour, south of Cherbourg.

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It was late in the evening, and her father was moving about the dim cramped cabin, undressing, like Edward now. She remembered the rustle of the clothes, the clink of a belt unfastened or of keys and or loose change. Her only task was to keep her eyes closed and to think of a tune she liked. Or any tune. She remembered the sweet scent of almost rotten food in the closed air of a boat after a rough trip. She was usually sick many times on the crossing, and of no use to her father as a sailor, and that surely was the source of her shame.

On Chesil Beach movie review: 'Saoirse Ronan is exquisite; Billy Howle gives as good as he gets'

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Sign Out. Saoirse Ronan in On Chesil Beach. Photo: Bleecker Street Media.


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Tags: on chesil beach saoirse ronan ian mcewan movies books adaptations More. The couple walks down its edge, Florence in a blue dress. This, uh, premature pouring does presage certain later plot points, but it also symbolizes something more complicated, a kind of dreadful irreversibility. The couple are prisoners in the very thing they thought they wanted the most.

On Chesil Beach Reviews - Metacritic

For brief moments the characters escape into the past, often via objects. A piano key, a hand, a morsel of food—the camera will zero in on these memory triggers, then the world around them will transform. Florence is a violinist who dreams of making it big, and in one scene we see her press a piano key at Wigmore Hall in London. Music is crucial for understanding the otherwise quiet Florence. We see her past self explaining a piece of Mozart to the other musicians.


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Every phrase is a question, she explains. Every scene is like a question in On Chesil Beach , a question that the almost-happy couple ask of each other in their own indecipherable language, never receiving an answer.


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The theme of music thus becomes a theme of disharmony, literally and figuratively. Florence is a careful and controlled person who finds profound expression through Mozart. Edward finds his raucous desires reflected in rock, desires that take outward expression in sweaty dancing.

ON CHESIL BEACH - "Nightingale" Official Clip

There is one configuration, or bit of choreography, that repeats again and again in the movie.