“Ammonite” / Ammonite
Genre biographical drama
Directed by Francis Lee
Cast: Kate Winslet (Mary Anning), Saoirse Ronan (Charlotte Murchison), Fiona Shaw (Elizabeth Philpot), Gemma Jones (Molly Anning), James McArdle (Roderick Murchison), Alec Sekarianu (Dr. Lieberson), Claire Rushbrook (Eleanor Butters) and etc.
Студии See-Saw Films, British Film Institute (BFI), BBC Films
Release year 2021
First, Ammonite introduces paleontologist Mary Anning (Kate Winslet), who has dedicated herself to finding fossils. Anning successfully finds rare specimens of skeletons, is well versed in anatomy and makes important scientific discoveries. The specimens that Anning found are in the British Museum, and she herself is known in geological circles. Despite this, Mary barely makes ends meet selling nautical souvenirs to tourists and caring for her ailing mother.
One day, a wealthy gentleman comes to town and admires Anning’s work. He offers Mary money in exchange for time with his wife (Saoirse Ronan), a joyless woman who suffers from melancholy.
It is impossible not to notice how the plot of this film is reminiscent of the French drama Portrait of a Lady on Fire. Both pictures show two heroines who are forced to spend time together. Walking in nature, doing creative work and forgetting about their usual life, they get close and fall in love with each other, moving on to physical intimacy.
But there are differences between the films. “Ammonite” is a very slow film in which the director tries to convey the isolation and dullness of Mary Anning’s life. She probably also suffers from melancholy, and also has difficulty communicating, but she does not have the opportunity to break away from what has become her eternal routine.
It is noteworthy that in the script of the picture there is not a large number of dialogues, or at least the personal reflections of the heroine. The viewer learns about everything from everyday observations, following the character in completely ordinary worries. The creators of the tape give time to consider a simple life, stains on coarse clothes and over time compare this with how the aristocratic heroine Saoirse Ronan looks like (pretty neat, sophisticated and never tired of a big load).
And life in the small town of Lyme Regis is really very mundane and, despite the beautiful nature on the coast (there are beautiful shots in the tape), extremely dull. Outside the window, you can constantly hear the wind, which seems to replace the soundtrack to the film, and over time, only the sound of heels rumbling in the kitchen, or the rustle of massive dresses, is added to it.
Therefore, when the cello sounds after an hour of musical silence in Ammonite, the instrument literally conveys the state of the main characters – women who behave with restraint for a long time, experiencing their personal tragedies in emotional silence.
They both become softer, livelier and more cheerful over time, although Mary Anning still does not lose her inherent restraint (I would like to note that Kate Winslet’s acting is very good – she has to do without replicas, but the actress perfectly conveys the character of the character with just facial expressions).
Interestingly, the premiere of the film took place at the Toronto Film Festival, where they paid attention to the story of the main character. The fact is that Mary Anning is a real-life paleontologist who, during her lifetime, was never able to enter the circle of the geological society. Quite a lot is known about her finds, but there is no information about connections with women.
In fact, this does not interfere with the film in any way, the director Francis Lee produces a beautiful and reverent picture. The only problem is that not every viewer can stand the silent drama, where there are many more looks than words.
Pros: playing Kate Winslet; closed characters of the main characters, which are gradually changing; picturesque sea footage Cons: the film is very silent and slow Conclusion:
the picture “Ammonite” is beautiful and even quivering, but very unhurried and completely laconic.