Set in rural Wales and 1940s London, this biopic tells the story of the romantic complications that arise between Welsh poet Dylan Thomas (Matthew Rhys), his young wife Caitlin (Sienna Miller), his first love Vera Phillips (Keira Knightley), and her husband William Killick (Cillian Murphy). Dylan Thomas, having been diverted from active duty in the Second World War and employed by the government to produce propaganda for Whitehall, reconnects with his old flame Vera while working in London. Despite his marriage to the feisty Caitlin, Thomas resumes his passionate relationship with Vera. Unusually, despite being rivals in love, Caitlin and Vera form a strong friendship when they meet, and Caitlin continues to indulge in her own extra-marital entanglements. But Vera's marriage to her devoted admirer William, and the effects of the ongoing drama of World War Two, eventually put paid to the unconventional harmony of the bohemian menage a trois, forcing events to a dramatic and violent denouement.
Set during the Second World War, The Edge Of Love
is, at heart, the story of a love triangle. In the middle of it is the poet Dylan Thomas (played here by Matthew Rhys), and itâs he who finds himself in love with two women. On one hand, thereâs his childhood sweetheart Vera Phillips (Keira Knightley), and on the other thereâs his wife, Caitlin Thomas (Sienna Miller). Throw in Caitlinâs husband, William (Cillian Murphy), and you have the basis of a complicated period romantic drama.
The best parts of The Edge Of Love prove to be in the build up, with the strong production values really allowed director John Maybury to build up his characters, and get across the setting of a war-torn London. Boasting good performances from the likes of Keira Knightley and Matthew Rhys, itâs hard not to get pulled into the filmâs set-up.
That said, the pay-off of The Edge Of Love isnât quite as satisfying, and the second half of the film lacks the punch youâd expect it to have. Itâs hard to pinpoint quite why it doesnât gel, but as major dramatic events ensue, youâre simply not drawn into them as much as youâd hope. Perhaps a bit more fleshing out of the characters would have helped.
However, thereâs still a lot to admire and enjoy, and The Edge Of Love boasts some excellent visuals, and neat directorial touches. And even though it doesnât fulfill its potential, itâs still a fine, eminently watchable drama. It just could have been that little bit more. --Jon Foster