Rent Ammonite (2020)

3.3 of 5 from 134 ratings
1h 54min
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  • General info
  • Available formats
Synopsis:
In the 1840's, acclaimed self-taught palaeontologist Mary Anning (Kate Winslet) works alone on the wild and brutal Southern English coastline of Lyme Regis. The days of her famed discoveries behind her, she now hunts for common fossils to sell to rich tourists to support herself and her ailing widowed mother. When one such tourist, Roderick Murchison (James McArdle), arrives in Lyme on the first leg of a European tour, he entrusts Mary with the care of his young wife Charlotte (Saoirse Ronan), who is recuperating from a personal tragedy.
Mary, whose life is a daily struggle on the poverty line, cannot afford to turn him down but, proud and relentlessly passionate about her work, she clashes with her unwanted guest. They are two women from utterly different worlds. Yet despite the chasm between their social spheres and personalities, Mary and Charlotte discover they can each offer what the other has been searching for: the realisation that they are not alone. It is the beginning of a passionate and all-consuming love affair that will defy all social bounds and alter the course of both lives irrevocably.
Actors:
, , , , , , , , , , , , , , Gethin Alderman, , , , , Mladen Petrov
Directors:
Producers:
Iain Canning, Fodhla Cronin O'Reilly, Emile Sherman
Writers:
Francis Lee
Others:
Michael O'Connor
Studio:
Lionsgate Films
Genres:
British Films, Drama, Lesbian & Gay, New Releases, Romance
Countries:
UK
BBFC:
Release Date:
14/06/2021
Run Time:
114 minutes
Languages:
English Audio Description Dolby Digital 5.1, English Dolby Digital 5.1
Subtitles:
English Hard of Hearing
DVD Regions:
Region 2
Formats:
Pal
Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen 1.85:1
Colour:
Colour
BBFC:
Release Date:
14/06/2021
Run Time:
118 minutes
Languages:
English Audio Description DTS 5.1, English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1
Subtitles:
English Hard of Hearing
Formats:
Pal
Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen 1.85:1
Colour:
Colour
BLU-RAY Regions:
B
Bonus:
  • The Costumes of 'Ammonite'
  • The Making of 'Ammonite'
  • Cast and Crew Interviews

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Reviews (4) of Ammonite

History lost in the passion - Ammonite review by PD

Spoiler Alert
10/05/2021

This one concerns the life and work of Mary Anning, whose contributions to palaeontology influenced Darwin. It depicts a middle-aged Anning, played by Kate Winslet, being acclaimed for her work but being also overlooked within the scientific community. She lives a modest life on the Jurassic coast, spending most of her days searching for fossils to sell to tourists in order to support herself and her mother. But the mundane routine of her life is disrupted by the arrival of a young middle-class woman, Charlotte Murchison (Saoirse Ronan), who has been instructed to convalesce by the sea by her husband, Roderick. The pair quickly develop an intense relationship that changes their lives.

The film is beautifully shot and unsurprisingly well-acted, but, watchable as it undoubtedly is, I'm coming away thinking Mary Anning has been sold short here. Yes, it makes us painfully aware that Anning was getting a raw deal in professional terms, and that, as well as being female, one of her major disadvantages was her working-class roots. But unfortunately there is very little exploration of this due to the central focus on a romantic lesbian relationship, of which there is absolutely no historical justification beyond (presumably) an inference from the fact that Anning never married.

Lee wants to portray two lonely women united by the constraints of their gender within a patriarchal society - but while this is may well be a laudable aim, it plays havoc with what we know of Murchison, who, far from being restricted in opportunity by a controlling husband, was in fact the impetus behind his career. Interestingly also, the real Murchison was about a decade older than Mary, whereas her the age difference is switched so that Anning is the senior of the pair, which is very odd. Worse still, Mary was emphatically NOT some kind of misanthropic outsider. She maintained a number of close female friendships and professional relationships throughout her life, notably Elizabeth Philpot, who built on Anning's work. Philpot does appear (played by Fiona Shaw), but here she takes the form of a local villager whose relationship with Anning is somewhat strained, Philpot's charm and warmth serving as a mirror to Anning's aloofness; predictably, there is a suggestion that Philpot is a former lover of Anning, and that this is the source of the tension between the two. I find this a shame, because we have no indication that this was the case - quite the contrary in fact.

Perhaps a more historically accurate (or at least plausible) film would not have received the attention that this has got. And of course it's perfectly possible just to ignore the fact that it's based on Mary Anning and just let the tale stand in its own right. But I still find it a bit of a pity that the 'real' Anning is lost amongst the passion: surely a tale of the dawn of science meets female enablement would have been of interest? It says a lot about us, I fear, that we just can't let Anning's intellectual achievements speak for themselves.

7 out of 7 members found this review helpful.

An engaging period watch, though VERY roughly based on historical happenings - Ammonite review by ST

Spoiler Alert
24/06/2021

See the PD review for the historical detail that has been malformed.

... but for anyone who likes period fiction, with great acting, and an engaging plot this is a fine piece IMHO.

Just remember to not let it rewrite historical fact in your mind. As of course you wouldn't with 'The Favorite' or 'The Death od Stalin'

0 out of 0 members found this review helpful.

Slow and indulgent - Ammonite review by CG

Spoiler Alert
29/06/2021

The direction of this was dull, dull, dull and it felt like a directorial vanity project. It went nowhere and it’s two hours of my life I’ll never get back. 

0 out of 0 members found this review helpful.

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