On Chesil Beach by Ian McEwan
It’s the early sixties, Edward Mayhew and Florence Ponting have just become engaged and headed to their Honeymoon at Chesil Beach. They are both virgins, and have had no sex education. So things are tense, each comes with their own baggage and things don’t go well.
I found this read long, slow and tedious. It had moments which almost seemed to get emotional but then it just dragged on. I saw that it was a film starring the wonderful Saorise Ronan and had to give it a try, to see how they could possibly have taken a story I found so dull and made it into a film.
On Chesil Beach (2017)
As it happens, the film was a pretty decent reflection of the book, which unfortunately meant it was slow and dull. Though apparently I might be a bit alone on that one… there were a lot of good reviews, though there are also a few clankers in there.
I believe most people know the premise of Little Women – a mother and her four children living without their father who is fighting in the Civil War deal with the day-to-day struggles as they grow older and find their way in the world.
I probably wouldn’t have gone to see the film off my own bat, but friends suggested it and I thought ‘Why not?’. I know I did see the Winona Ryder version but I really don’t remember much of that, and I’ve never read it. I quite liked this… I mean, it’s not exactly riveting, but there are some fun moments. I quite liked the speech that Amy gives about the reason that women need to get married, but I’ve since found out that maybe this is actually a deviation from the original book. Now, I really want to read the book, and given that classics seem to be working better for me by audiobook, perhaps it’s time to find a good version and give it a try.
Little Women was nominated for Oscars for Best Motion Picture of the Year, Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role (Saoirse Ronan), Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role (Florence Pugh), Best Adapted Screenplay (Greta Gerwig), Best Achievement in Costume Design and Best Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures (Original Score). It was also nominated for Golden Globes for Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture – Drama (Saoirse Ronan) and Best Original Score.
Eilis (Saoirse Ronan) is having a tough time in Ireland – there’s not much work, she can’t seem to find a decent gentleman, she just feels like she doesn’t fit in. Then her older sister, Nancy (Eileen O’Higgins) arranges for passage for Eilis to New York, along with accommodation and a job. In Brooklyn, land of the Irish, Eilis defeats severe homesickness and starts to make a new life. But just as she is finding love with a handsome Italian-American, Tony (Emory Cohen), she is forced to return home for a visit, and finds it to be a totally different place. Tough decisions need to be made.
I quite liked the film, but I can’t say I loved it. Saoirse Ronan was very good in the role of Eilis, however, I felt absolutely no chemistry between her and either of the men in the film. I felt that there were parts of the film that were supposed to show that Eilis had grown and changed as a character, but I found that she was repressed and so tightly wound, and that didn’t change. It was interesting, but didn’t blow me away.