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Saturday, February 6, 2021

Ammonite (2020)

Set in 19th century England, an acclaimed paleontologist (Kate Winslet) lives in self isolation with her ill mother (Gemma Jones). Living in near poverty, she collects common fossils and sells them to tourists to support themselves. When a wealthy visitor (James McArdle) entrusts her with the care of his delicate wife (Saoirse Ronan) for 5 weeks, she is in no position to turn down the money. Directed by Francis Lee, the film is inspired by the life of Mary Anning, a 19th century paleontologist but is highly fictionalized. There is no historical evidence of Anning's sexual orientation but the film portrays her as a lesbian. While not quite the same as portraying Cole Porter as heterosexual in NIGHT AND DAY since we know his sexual orientation, hopefully viewers won't view the film as a factual account. That aside, the film has a lot of similarity to the critically acclaimed PORTRAIT OF A LADY ON FIRE (2019) but I much preferred this one. I appreciated the detail the film went into (I didn't even know what an ammonite was until I saw the movie) and how Lee didn't eroticize the graphic love scenes between Winslet and Ronan but lets us see their loneliness and hunger. Normally I love ambiguous endings but I sort of wished some sort of closure on this one. The main reason for seeing the film is the acting! Winslet and Ronan are two of the best actresses working in film today and they don't disappoint. A worthy effort. With Fiona Shaw and Alec Secareanu. 

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