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The Edge of Love (2008) - Plot Summary Poster

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Summaries

  • Two feisty, free-spirited women are connected by the brilliant, charismatic poet who loves them both. The passion and pathos of legendary poet Dylan Thomas is told through the lives of two extraordinary women. Vera Phillips and Dylan were teenage loves; fast forward ten years and the two reconnect in London. She's working as a singer whilst he's churning out scripts for government propaganda films and living off the last in a long line of infatuated women. The two former lovers feel the thunderbolt once more, but Thomas is now married to the adventurous Caitlin. Despite their love-rival status, the women form a surprising friendship. Caitlin indulges in her own infidelities, and recognises a similar adventurous spirit in her husband. But she knows his connection with Vera is something different, not to mention dangerous. Romantic turmoil continues in Vera's life. She marries her devoted admirer William Killick, but she can't deny the chemistry between herself and Dylan, nor does she want to - even if this means betraying Caitlin. When William is posted abroad, and a pregnant Vera returns to Wales with her married friends, the battle between her heart and head becomes more intense. William returns a changed man, but neither is Vera the carefree cabaret girl he married. Neighbourhood gossip fuels her husband's jealousy towards his rival. Enraged, William stages a violent attack on Dylan - an attack that forces Vera to choose between the men in her life and the friend that she loves. Desire and guilt are complicated by love and friendship in this real-life tale set in beautiful London and the majestic Welsh countryside.

  • Two feisty, free-spirited women are connected by the brilliant, charismatic poet who loves them both.


Spoilers

The synopsis below may give away important plot points.

Synopsis

  • The story is based loosely on real events and real people, drawing on David N. Thomas's book Dylan Thomas: A Farm, Two Mansions and a Bungalow.

    During the London blitz of World War II in 1940, nightclub singer Vera Phillips (Keira Knightley) runs into her first love, the charismatic Welsh poet Dylan Thomas (Matthew Rhys). Their feelings for each other are rekindled, despite the fact that Dylan is now married to and has a child with the spirited Caitlin MacNamara (Sienna Miller). In spite of their initial rivalry, the two women become best friends and, drinking heavily in wartime London, the three get along well.

    At this time, William Killick (Cillian Murphy), a British Army officer smitten with Vera, pursues her; both Vera and Caitlin are intrigued by his steadfast, gallant personality, although it contrasts with Vera's rebelliousness. William notices her closeness with Dylan, but doesn't seem particularly concerned by it; he and Vera even lend the struggling poet some of their savings. He and Vera fall in love and marry, but soon afterwards William is called up to join the fight against the 1941 German invasion of Greece.

    Vera discovers shortly after he leaves that she is pregnant; she's upset that motherhood will lose her independence, but cannot bring herself to abort William's child. She later gives birth to their son, and she and the Thomases move to the Welsh seashore to raise their children in two small neighbouring cottages, where Vera and Caitlin's friendship grows ever closer (almost intimate and romantic). One day, however, Dylan draws Vera into an affair. Dylan and Caitlin's marriage has long been distorted by their multiple infidelities, but Dylan (recalling a sexual encounter he and Vera had when she was 15 years old) sees her as his soulmate.

    William (now a Captain), scarred by the horrors of the war, eventually returns home where Vera notices his emotional distance and instability. In his disquiet, William comes to suspect his wife's infidelity and confronts her about it; Vera also confesses the truth to Caitlin, who is furious with her for lying to her. Severely drunk one evening, and angry with Dylan's friends and their ignorant remarks on the war, William wanders out at night and fires multiple shots into the Thomases' house, though he hits no one; Vera manages to talk him down, and the next morning he seems to return to his former self. However, he is soon arrested for attempted murder and taken to trial.

    During the trial, Dylan testifies against William by exaggerating the facts, stating he believed William was not only sober, but also that William intended to kill him, his wife, and his child. However, the jury finds William innocent of intent to murder, and he returns home. He accepts his new role as a father, and he and Vera forgive each other, rekindling their relationship. Soon afterwards, the Thomases move out of their cottage. During the farewell, Vera restores her friendship with Caitlin, but she never speaks with Dylan again, unable to forgive him for testifying against her husband.

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