Saoirse Ronan steals the show in this desperately sad adaptation of Ian McEwan's On Chesil Beach

For a traditional couple in 1962, a marriage consummation was a fraught exercise but here we have inexperience mixed with baggage.

The result is a heartbreaking episode which changes the course of their lives for ever. It packs an incredible emotional wallop.

You cannot help but chuckle at how people tried to turn themselves middle-aged the second they got hitched, naming their unborn kids but not having a clue about who they are and what they want.

This miscommunication and silent suffering drives the whole film.

As the story unfurls, we do get a sense of how they came to be standing on a pebbled beach unable to even look at each other, but it doesn’t make it any more palatable.

There are whiffs of male entitlement, accusations of fundamental fraud and the impatience of youth all mixed together, making the evenings events become the heartbeat of two adults.

The ending will be spotted a mile off but catches in your throat, even if you are left wanting some form of resolution.

Saoirse Ronan acts everyone else off the screen (with the exception of a great appearance from Ann-Marie Duff) and gives this film real depth.

I loved it, in all its desperately sad and unnecessary melancholy.

On Chesil Beach

(15) 110 mins


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