The Edge Of Love

The Edge Of Love


Reviewed by: Maria Realf

Given that Keira Knightley has made quite a name for herself playing the quintessential English rose (Pride & Prejudice, Atonement), it was always going to be interesting to see how she fared as a feisty Welsh singer in The Edge of Love.

Unfortunately, the answer is badly. Not since Richard Gere played an Irishman in 1997’s The Jackal has someone’s stab at an accent been that distracting. Matthew Rhys’s portrayal of the poet Dylan Thomas is better (although, being Welsh, he admittedly had the vocal advantage over Knightley) and there’s strong support from Sienna Miller and Cillian Murphy. However, even they can’t save John Maybury’s new movie from being a slow-burner.

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Set during the Second World War, the film follows the lives of two spirited young women who form an unlikely friendship despite both having feelings for the charismatic poet. Vera (Knightley) is Dylan’s former sweetheart – and as their paths cross in London, it’s clear the flames of first love have not been fully extinguished. Meanwhile, the beautiful and bohemian Caitlin (Miller) is now the Welshman’s wife, though the couple have a volatile relationship. Surprisingly, the two girls begin to bond and it seems that their love-rival status has changed when Vera marries the dashing William Killick (Murphy). But after he is sent away to fight in the war, the remaining three return to Wales, where old jealousies emerge once more. Can Vera stay loyal to her new friend Caitlin or will she succumb to loneliness and her affection for the legendary writer?

While the real Dylan Thomas was undoubtedly fascinating, it’s a shame the same cannot be said for this film. With a lacklustre screenplay by Sharman Macdonald (who’s also Knightley’s mum), it teeters somewhere between drama and romance, but lacks the sheer tension or sizzling on-screen chemistry to truly succeed in either genre. And anyone who’s hoping to see the rumoured raunchy threesome will be very disappointed indeed (quite frankly, some saucier scenes might have livened things up a little…).

But it’s not all bad, with both Murphy and Rhys putting in polished performances; the latter is especially convincing throughout as he skilfully switches between charming and tormented. Miller also manages to shine in several places, though occasionally her character’s quirky ways become almost as grating as Knightley’s accent. The real stars of the show, however, have to be the glorious Welsh landscapes, which exude an aura of brooding passion that the film ultimately fails to live up to.

Reviewed on: 18 Jun 2008
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Wartime drama about two women who form an unlikely friendship, united by their feelings for poet Dylan Thomas.
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Read more The Edge Of Love reviews:

Chris *****
Dylan Matthew ***

Director: John Maybury

Writer: Sharman Macdonald

Starring: Keira Knightley, Cillian Murphy, Sienna Miller, Matthew Rhys, Camilla Rutherford, Alastair Mackenzie

Year: 2008

Runtime: 110 minutes

BBFC: 15 - Age Restricted

Country: UK


EIFF 2008

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