‘Ammonite’: Release date, plot, cast, trailer and all you need to know about the Kate Winslet and Saoirse Ronan movie
The film focuses on Mary Anning, who gained global repute for the finds she made in Jurassic marine fossil beds in the cliffs along the English Channel but as per filmmaker Francis Lee, it's not a biopic
If you have been jonesing for a turn-of-the-century film with beautiful frames and a tender story about femininity and love, especially in the aftermath of ‘Portrait of a Lady on Fire’, look no further. The British film ‘Ammonite’ will fill that void.
The film will have its world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival on September 11. ‘Ammonite’ will be released on-demand and in select theaters on November 13.
‘Ammonite’, set in 1840s England, follows the acclaimed but overlooked fossil hunter Mary Anning. In the film, Anning and a young woman, Charlotte Murchison, sent to convalesce by the sea, develop an intense relationship, altering both of their lives forever.
Mary Anning, born on May 21, 1799, gained global repute for the finds she made in Jurassic marine fossil beds in the cliffs along the English Channel. Anning, however, was overlooked to a great deal during her time. For starters, she was a poor woman in a rich boys’ club that was the 19th-century British scientific community.
Thus, despite being well-known in geological circles in Britain, Europe, and America, she was not eligible to join the Geological Society of London and she did not always receive full credit for her scientific contributions. The film ‘Ammonite’, thus, will not just focus on her romance with Charlotte, but also the class and gender disparity which she had to encounter.
Kate Winslet as Mary Anning
The 44-year-old British actor needs hardly any introduction. Winslet, who received global fame for her performance as Rose DeWitt Bukater in ‘Titanic’, has made a niche for herself in period dramas, playing nuanced characters. Some of her most noted roles include ‘Finding Neverland’, ‘Little Children’, ‘Revolutionary Road’, ‘The Reader’, ‘Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind’, and more. Winslet is the recipient of various accolades, including the British Academy Film Awards, the Academy Awards, Emmy Awards, and even Grammy Awards.
Saoirse Ronan as Charlotte Murchison
The 26-year-old Irish actor has received global acclaim for her performances, especially as the eponymous high school senior in Greta Gerwig's ‘Lady Bird’, and as Jo March in Gerwig's ‘Little Women’. Ronan has received various accolades, including a Golden Globe Award and nominations for four Academy Awards and five British Academy Film Awards. Her other noted performances include films such as ‘Brooklyn’, ‘Loving Vincent’, ‘Mary Queen of Scots’, and more.
Alec Secareanu as Dr. Lieberson
The 35-year-old Romanian actor has already worked with filmmaker Francis Lee in ‘God's Own Country’, and has even received critical acclaim for it. Secareanu is best known for his roles in films like 'Amulet', ‘Love Bus: cinci povesti de dragoste din Bucuresti’, ‘Minte-mã frumos în Centrul Vechi’, ‘Tudo’, and television shows like ‘Pariu cu viata’, ‘Strike Back’, and ‘Baptiste’.
‘Ammonite’ is both written and directed by Francis Lee, who broke out with the acclaimed gay romance ‘God’s Own Country’ in 2017. Lee reportedly received criticism last year when the film, and its focus, was announced. “I do not believe there is any evidence to back up portraying her as a gay woman,” said Barbara Anning, a family member of the film’s central character.
Lee defended the decision, saying, “After seeing queer history be routinely ‘straightened’ throughout culture, and given a historical figure where there is no evidence whatsoever of a heterosexual relationship, is it not permissible to view that person within another context?”
Lee also stated that the film was “not a biopic” but was inspired by Anning’s life and also his own research into same-sex female relationships of the period. “The idea of two women actually in a relationship together was just not a thought anybody ever had within society,” he said.
In the trailer, that dropped on Tuesday, August 25, we see Anning leaving her days of making famous geological discoveries behind her, now searching for common fossils to sell to tourists to support herself and her sickly mother. When a wealthy tourist pays a visit to Anning and asks her to take care of his ailing wife Charlotte, who suffers from “melancholia”, things take a turn.
Anning now has a new apprentice. While they initially don’t get along, especially due to their different social classes and personalities, over time they begin to form an intense and passionate bond. The film, in its visuals and story and handling, bears a distinct resemblance to ‘Portrait of a Lady on Fire’, the 2019 French historical romantic drama film written and directed by Céline Sciamma, which won the Queer Palm at Cannes Film Festival. On social media, following the trailer’s release, many pointed this out.
If you like ‘Ammonite’, you will also like
‘Portrait of a Lady on Fire’, ‘Blue is the Warmest Colour’, ‘God’s Own Country’, ‘Disobedience’, and ‘The Handmaiden’.