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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LITTLE WOMEN – Review by Brandy McDonnell

Beloved by generations of female readers, Alcott’s tale of four sisters growing up in genteel poverty in 1860s Massachusetts remains one of the few American literary classics penned by a woman. Published in two volumes in 1868 and 1869, it unfurled the lives of the March girls in chronological order, starting with their teen years into their becoming “Little Women.”

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LITTLE WOMEN – Review by Susan Granger

Since Greta Gerwig’s Ladybird was one of my 2017 favorites, I had high hopes for her version of Louisa Mae Alcott’s classic story, but she butchers it! Rather than relate it chronologically, Gerwig shuffles, subverts and skips pivotal scenes, except for the opening Christmas letter from Father and the wryly romantic conclusion.

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MARY QUEEN OF SCOTS – Review by Brandy McDonnell

A British stage director making her filmmaking debut, Roarke ensures that the production values are high, the twisty plot is clear and Alexandra Byrne’s costume designs are flawless. She brings over the theatrical tradition of casting without regard to color whenever possible, which allows talents like Lester and Gemma Chan (as one of Elizabeth’s confidantes) to get in on the costume drama.

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