MOVIE OF THE WEEK November 27, 2020: AMMONITE

Human connection brings warmth and joy to a bleak time and place in Francis Lee’s Ammonite, which centers on renowned British paleontologist Mary Anning (Kate Winslet) and her relationship with a woman named Charlotte Murchison (Saoirse Ronan). While its details may be more speculation than fact, there’s no denying its message about the transformative power of kinship and attraction.

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AMMONITE – Review by Loren King

With his stunning 2017 debut feature God’s Own Country, writer/director Francis Lee created complex gay and working class characters and put them front and center. His follow up, the romantic, historical drama Ammonite starring Kate Winslet as real-life, self-taught British paleontologist Mary Anning who lived and worked on the coast of England in the 1840s, does the same for women straightjacketed by both gender and class.

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AMMONITE – Review by Nikki Baughan

British filmmaker Francis Lee follows up his stunning 2017 debut God’s Own Country with this period drama which may be larger in scale, but retains the writer/director’s sensitive attention to detail. The increasingly intimate relationship between 19th century Dorset fossil hunter Mary Anning (Kate Winslet) and convalescing young visitor Charlotte Murchison (Saoirse Ronan) may be at the heart of this narrative, but, through this prism, Lee’s screenplay explore themes of gender and sexual oppression that remain painfully recognizable nearly 200 years on from when this story is set.

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AMMONITE – Review by Susan Wloszczyna

No one would confuse the 19th-century romance Ammonite – a type of rare fossil — with dynamite. It’s the type of slow-building period piece that allows a character to reveal she is gravely ill by coughing into a hanky and then showing us it is spattered in blood. It also takes it time to simmer to a full-on boil emotion-wise while eventually heading to a tsunami of bodice-ripping lady love.

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AMMONITE – Review by Martha K Baker

Dramatizing the intersecting lives of 19th century paleontologist Mary Anning (1799-1847), geologist Charlotte Murchison and fossil-finder Elizabeth Philpot, Ammonite may not be totally true, but it brings these underrecognized women of science, their work and world into the spotlight.

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BLACKBIRD – Review by Susan Wloszczyna

There’s something Big Chill-ish about Blackbird, as an exemplary cast gathers together for a weekend to celebrate the death of Lily, a beloved matriarch. But unlike that Baby Boomer classic, the soon-to-be-deceased person who is in the early throes of a terminal illness is staging her own demise on her own terms.

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BLACKBIRD – Review by Liz Whittemore

Blackbird will hit home for anyone who has watched a loved one slowly deteriorate due to illness. Matriarch Lily has requested support from her family so she can die on her own terms. This arrangement comes as no surprise and s everyone has agreed to spend their final weekend together as a family unit and be present for what will come. We see everyone go through the stages of grief and they are messy and honest. And while secrets are exposed and new information comes to light, Blackbird leaves space for truth and real emotion.

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