A trailer has been released for Ammonite, the second feature from director Francis Lee (God’s Own Country).
Starring Saoirse Ronan, Kate Winslet, Fiona Shaw and Gemma Jones, Ammonite focuses on the life of Mary Anning, a palaeontologist played by Winslet, who begins a relationship with a married woman, Charlotte Murchison, played by Ronan. The film is set to be released by Neon in November 2020.
Ammonite‘s trailer focuses on both the work being done by Anning and the growing relationship between her and Murchison. For the former, the trailer takes great care to show the excavation fossil work that Anning does in a gritty realism. The resulting effect is grounded and realistic – “It’s hard work,” Anning remarks in the trailer, but as Murchison points out, “it’s beautiful.”
But it is the relationship between the two women that takes center stage here. Halfway through the trailer, the music swells, the stolen glances linger even longer, and eventually, the two come together in a passionate embrace. It’s clear that Winslet and Ronan have strong chemistry in their respective roles, and I’m certain that their romance is going to be the beating heart of the film.
The biopic is perhaps controversial, as surviving members of Anning’s family say her sexuality was never confirmed. However, considering the amount of queer erasure that takes place in history, I think this should be permitted. Lee has proven himself a more than the capable director of queer romances –after all, anyone who has yet to do so should definitely get around to watching God’s Own Country.
If the trailer is anything to go by, Ammonite looks like one set to live up to its hype. It also seems to fit in perfectly with other sapphic period romance dramas, a genre that has grown ever more popular in recent years with films like Carol, Tell It to the Bees, Vita and Virginia and The Handmaiden. In particular, the film feels reminiscent of Céline Sciamma’s masterpiece Portrait of a Lady on Fire – although that might just be because of the dark lighting and the beach.
Words by Mischa Alexander
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