The Edge of Love

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The Edge of Love
Theatrical release poster
Directed byJohn Maybury
Written bySharman Macdonald
Produced by
CinematographyJonathan Freeman
Edited byEmma E. Hickox
Music byAngelo Badalamenti
Distributed byLionsgate[1]
Capitol Films
Release dates
Running time
110 minutes
CountryUnited Kingdom

The Edge of Love is a 2008 British biographical romantic drama film directed by John Maybury and starring Keira Knightley, Sienna Miller, Cillian Murphy and Matthew Rhys. The script was written by Knightley's mother, Sharman Macdonald.[2] Originally titled The Best Time of Our Lives, the fictional story concerns Welsh poet Dylan Thomas (played by Rhys), his wife Caitlin Macnamara (played by Miller) and their married friends, the Killicks (played by Knightley and Murphy). The film premiered at the Edinburgh International Film Festival.

The story is loosely based on real events and people, drawing on Rebekah Gilbertson's idea and David N. Thomas' 2000 book Dylan Thomas: A Farm, Two Mansions and a Bungalow.[3] He has since written further about Dylan and Vera, highlighting the several deceits in the film that trivialised their friendship. He has described how Dylan and Vera were related as cousins, and the extent to which their families inter-married, farming together as neighbours on the Llansteffan peninsula in Carmarthenshire.[4]


During the London Blitz, nightclub singer Vera Phillips runs into her first love, charismatic Welsh poet Dylan Thomas. Although Dylan is now married to Caitlin Macnamara, with whom he has a son, he and Vera rekindle feelings for one another. The two women, initially rivals, become best friends. Drinking heavily in wartime London, the three come to get along.

William Killick, a British Army officer, begins to pursue Vera. Both Vera and Caitlin are intrigued by his steadfast, gallant personality despite its contrasts with Vera's rebelliousness. William notices Vera's closeness to Dylan, but doesn't appear concerned; he and Vera even lend the struggling poet some of their savings. William and Vera fall in love and marry. Soon afterwards, William is called up to fight against the German invasion of Greece after the Italians failed.

Shortly after William's departure, Vera discovers she is pregnant. Upset that motherhood will take away her independence, she contemplates aborting the child but cannot bring herself to do so. She gives birth to a son and moves to the Welsh seashore with Dylan and Caitlin to raise their children in two small neighbouring cottages. Vera and Caitlin's friendship grows stronger while Dylan and Caitlin's marriage becomes distorted by multiple infidelities. Dylan draws Vera into an affair with him.

William returns a captain, scarred by the horrors of the war. Vera notices his emotional distance and instability. William suspects his wife of infidelity and confronts her. Vera confesses to both William and Caitlin, who are furious with her. One evening, while severely inebriated and angry with Dylan's friends for their ignorant remarks on the war, William wanders outside and fires multiple shots into Dylan and Caitlin's home. He does not hit anyone, and Vera calms him down. The next morning, William seems to have returned to his former self. However, he is arrested and taken to trial.

During the trial, Dylan testifies against William and distorts the facts, claiming that William was sober and intended to kill Dylan, Caitlin, and their child. The jury finds William innocent of intent to murder. After returning home, William accepts his new role as a father, and he and Vera forgive each other. Their relationship improves. Soon afterwards, Dylan and Caitlin move out of their cottage. During the farewell, Vera restores her friendship with Caitlin, but she never speaks to Dylan again, unable to forgive him for testifying against her husband.


The cast included:[5]


The film made its world premiere opening at the Edinburgh Film Festival on 18 June 2008. It was released in London and Dublin two days later, with a Welsh premiere taking place in Swansea (the birthplace of Dylan Thomas) on the same night, attended by Matthew Rhys. A national release followed in the UK and Ireland on 27 June 2008.[6] An exhibition of costumes, scripts and props from the film was on display at the Dylan Thomas Centre in Swansea until September 2008. The Edge of Love has earned US$3,238,922 in gross revenue since its June 2008 release.[7]

Critical reception[edit]

On Rotten Tomatoes the film received a 37% rating based on 59 reviews, with an average rating of 5.10/10. The site's consensus reads: "Despite effective performances from Knightley and Miller, The Edge of Love lacks a coherent narrative".[8] Metacritic, which uses a weighted average score, gave the film 39 out of 100 based on reviews from 13 critics, indicating "generally unfavorable reviews".[9]

In Variety, Leslie Felperin commented: "While the period drama has several redeeming features, tonally it's all over the map, veering between artsy stylization and hum-drum, sometimes almost twee melodrama."[10] Mark Kermode described the film as "inert" and said that the script was "flawed but not without some form of admirable merit".[11]

The Independent felt that "Maybury's stylisation makes the film more interesting than it would have been if directed by your average British journeyman, but it finally adds up to earnest heritage romance."[12] In The Guardian, reviewer Philip French said, "This is a fascinating story, its chronology somewhat muddled and its dramatic thrust rather obscure."[6]

The Hollywood Reporter critic Ray Bennett commented that The Edge of Love is a "wonderfully atmospheric tale of love and war" and stated about Knightley and Miller; "the film belongs to the women, with Knightley going from strength to strength (and showing she can sing!) and Miller again proving that she has everything it takes to be a major movie star."[13]

Sienna Miller received a nomination as Best Supporting Actress at the 2008 British Independent Film Awards.[14]


The Edge of Love (Music from the Motion Picture)
Soundtrack album by
Released24 June 2008
Professional ratings
Review scores
Discogs5 / 5

The Edge of Love soundtrack by Angelo Badalamenti includes songs by Keira Knightley, Siouxsie Sioux, Suggs, Patrick Wolf, and Beth Rowley. Siouxsie performs the second version of "Careless Love", while Wolf performs "Careless Talk".

The composer performed the soundtrack live with Siouxsie and Beth Rowley at the World Soundtrack Awards in Ghent in October 2008.[16]

Track listing
  1. "Lovers Lie Abed"
  2. "Overture/Blue Tahitian Moon"
  3. "Underground Shelter"
  4. "Hang Out the Stars in Indiana"
  5. "After the Bombing/Hang Out the Stars in Indiana"
  6. "A Stranger Has Come"
  7. "Fire to the Stars"
  8. "Careless Talk" (vocals by Beth Rowley)
  9. "Careless Love"
  10. "Love Me"
  11. "Careless Talk"
  12. "Drifting and Dreaming"
  13. "Home Movies"
  14. "Under Fire"
  15. "Maybe It's Because I Love You Too Much"
  16. "Vera Begs Dylan"
  17. "Vera's Theme"
  18. "Holding Rowatt"
  19. "Careless Love" (vocals by Siouxsie Sioux)
  20. "Caitlin's Theme"


  1. ^ "The Edge of Love (2008)". BBFC. Retrieved 16 April 2021.
  2. ^ McCartney, Jenny (19 June 2008). "Film reviews: The Edge of Love and Adulthood". The Telegraph. Retrieved 5 October 2017.
  3. ^ Dargis, Manohla (19 March 2009). "Matthew Rhys, Keira Knightley and Sienna Miller as Dylan Thomas's Circle". The New York Times. Retrieved 5 October 2017.
  4. ^ Thomas, D. N. (2013) Dylan Thomas and The Edge of Love: the Real Story in Cambria, February and online at Dylan and Vera
  5. ^ "The Edge of Love - The Official Movie Website [archived site]". 2010. Archived from the original on 14 January 2010. Retrieved 18 May 2018.
  6. ^ a b French, Philip (21 June 2008). "Review: The Edge of Love". The Guardian. Retrieved 24 March 2018.
  7. ^ "The Edge of Love (2009) - Financial Information". The Numbers. Retrieved 7 October 2017.
  8. ^ "The Edge of Love". Rotten Tomatoes. 14 July 2009. Retrieved 3 March 2022.
  9. ^ "The Edge of Love". Metacritic. Retrieved 22 March 2022.
  10. ^ Felperin, Leslie (18 June 2008). "The Edge of Love". Variety. Retrieved 30 September 2017.
  11. ^ Mark Kermode reviews The Edge of Love. YouTube. 20 June 2008. Archived from the original on 19 December 2021. Retrieved 30 September 2017.
  12. ^ Romney, Jonatahn (22 June 2008). "The Edge of Love (15)". The Independent. Archived from the original on 18 June 2022. Retrieved 30 September 2017.
  13. ^ Film Review: The Edge of Love Hollywood Reporter, 17 June 2008 Archived 12 August 2009 at the Wayback Machine
  14. ^ "Hunger dominates nominations for British Independent Film Awards". Metro. 28 October 2008. Retrieved 2 December 2017.
  15. ^ Jurek, Thom (16 June 2008). "The Edge of Love (Music from the Motion Picture) – Angelo Badalamenti : Songs, Reviews". AllMusic. Retrieved 27 June 2012.
  16. ^ Siouxsiepedia (15 December 2012), Careless Love - Siouxsie Sioux - World Soundtrack Awards on 18-10-08 (Erasercuts), archived from the original on 19 December 2021, retrieved 24 March 2018

External links[edit]