Ammonite (2020) London Film Festival Movie Review

Director: Francis Lee

Writer: Francis Lee (Screenplay)

Starring: Kate Winslet, Saoirse Ronan, Fiona Shaw, Gemma Jones, James McArdle, Alec Secareanu

Plot: 1840s England, acclaimed but overlooked fossil hunter Mary Anning and a young woman sent to convalesce by the sea develop an intense relationship, altering both of their lives forever

Runtime: 2 Hours

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Story: Ammonite starts as we see the fossil hunter Mary Anning (Winslet) living off the coast where she searches for the fossil, with her mother Molly (Jones), they are seen as the outsiders in the village, until a scientist Roderick Murchison (McArdle) and his wife Charlotte (Ronan) arrive in town looking to learn off her.

When Roderick goes on his own expedition, he asks Mary to watch of Charlotte, as she is recovering from her own illness, leading to the two reluctantly spending time together, changing both of their lives.

Thoughts on Ammonite

Characters – Mary Anning is a fossil hunter that has been living her life away from the traditions for her whole life, she is famous in the community for her work, living with just her mother off the coast, where she finds the most fossils, she doesn’t communicate too much with the rest of the town and doesn’t have people skill, preferring to work alone than with people. She reluctantly agrees to watch over Charlotte, while her husband is away, leading to an unlikely friendship between the two. Charlotte Murchison is the wife of Roderick, the pair have suffered their own loss of a child, leading to Charlotte losing the sparkly she once had, she needs to recover with the time on the coast being the medicine prescribed to her. She does start to come back out of her shell, once she spends more time with Mary. We don’t meet too many more characters, we have the husband Roderick who is trying to help bring his wife out of her depression, Dr Lieberson who helps when Charlotte gets ill and Molly Anning the mother of Mary who is stuck in her own ways.

PerformancesKate Winslet and Saoirse Ronan are both wonderful in the leading roles, showing the pain in life they have both been through, as well as the hope they bring each other.

StoryThe story follows a lonely fossil hunter that is asked to look after the wife of a fellow scientist with the two slowly starting to spend time with each other and falling in love, opening their eyes to what could come from life. The story does follow the formula you would expect it too, it does show us the everyday almost boring to film routines the characters go through, holding back the excitement from life, highlighting the slump both women are going through. We do get to lean more into the forbidden love for the time and era, but otherwise we have seen the story unfold before.

Biopic/RomanceWe don’t learn that much about Mary Anning from a true professional stand point, which is more disappointing, with the romance side of everything being what we have seen before from the love involved.

SettingsThe small coastal town makes us see the type of life that Mary wants, away from the world, close to her work.

Scene of the Movie – The fossil hunt.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – Nothing new.

Final Thoughts Ammonite has brilliant performance, a well crafted world inside a tried and tested story that doesn’t do anything wrong.

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