Ammonite is a 2020 romantic drama film written and directed by actor Francis Lee (God’s Own Country, The Last Smallholder, Bradford Halifax London, and The Farmer’s Wife). It’s loosely based on the life of British paleontologist Mary Anning. It was produced by Emile Sherman (Candy, Disgrace, Widows, Mary Magdalene, Mr. Holmes, Slow West, Macbeth, and The King’s Speech) and Iain Canning (Control, Hunger, Shame, Life, Tracks, and The New Legends of Monkey). It had it’s world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival. The budget was $13.4 million and it grossed $646,752 during it’s limited theatrical run.
In 1840s England, acclaimed but overlooked fossil hunter Mary Anning (played by: Kate Winslet from Blackbird, Titanic, Revolutionary Road, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, and Movie 43) works alone on the rugged Southern coastline. It’s been a long time since her famous discoveries that put her on the map. She now searches for common fossils to sell to tourists to support herself and her ailing mother Molly (played by: Gemma Jones from Harry Potter franchise, Bridget Jones franchise, The Devils, and Shanghai Knights). When a wealthy visitor Roderick (played by: James McArdle from Mary Queen of Scots, Angels in America, Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens, and ’71) entrusts Mary with the care of his sick wife Charlotte Murchison (played by: Saoirse Ronan from Hanna, The Lovely Bones, Byzantium, Lady Bird, and Lost River), she cannot afford to turn his huge offer down. Proud and relentlessly passionate about her work, Mary initially clashes with her unwelcome guest that she is now stuck with for this high paying job. Despite the distance between their social class and personalities, an intense bond begins to develop between the two strangers with nothing in common. These two women go into forbidden territory that will change their lives forever, Will it last????
Let’s be honest, Ammonite is pure Oscar bait material. It was catered and made for the two leads to get lots of attention during awards season. They put a decent amount of money into this project hoping it would blow up due to it’s content and it’s participants. Due to Covid-19, it didn’t get much of a push at the box office and it kinda slipped under the radar for most people. The script tries it’s best for major character development before anything real happens here. Ammonite is really slow at first, it takes it’s time to get somewhere with the story and the big draw in this. As you should know if you are reading this, acclaimed actresses Oscar winner Kate Winslet and Golden Globe winner Saoirse Ronan become lovers after being forced together in Ammonite. I am not talking about soft and innocent kisses here either. They go full lesbian in Ammonite and it gets really intense between the two. I was kinda surprised what these two respected actresses did for this feature. Saoirse Ronan just teases her body in this, she has the right angles to cover everything up but she isn’t shy for other actions here. Kate Winslet shows it all here and she doesn’t hold back for this role. Both leads give great performances as two strangers who unexpectedly get involved with each other. They both have amazing chemistry in this. It has a rather small cast but it does have solid support from both veteran Gemma Jones and up-comer James McArdle for Ammonite. This drama deals with issues that weren’t allowed back then plus the breakdown of a mentally unstable person during her exploration into a brand new world. If you are patient, it’s worth the wait and it ends up being better than expected. Recommended if you are a fans of both Kate Winslet and Saoirse Ronan. This one will get more attention when people realize what happens here.
Let’s talk about the high definition presentation and special feature from Universal Pictures! This 1080p (1.85:1) transfer looks beautiful especially during the outside and sea scenes when they are collecting fossils. The English: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track is solid here. Let’s be real, it’s not the type of feature that’s going to blow up your speakers or be reference quality. All of the dialogue is very clean and the music has a nice boost to it. It has English SDH subtitles. The only extra on this disc is the almost 6 minute “The Making of Ammonite”. It has interviews with director Francis Lee, lead actors Kate Winslet, and Saoirse Ronan. They chat about the original inspiration for this film. They talk about their characters, their experience, and the relationships in it. They go over the costume designs and the differences between the two leads. Kate Winslet gives praise to his role, film, and everything involved with it. She had to research the character and train with real fossil experts for it. It’s available everywhere right now including MovieZyng.com, CHECK IT OUT!!!!