Welcome to British Isles Friday! British Isles Friday is a weekly event for sharing all things British and Irish — reviews, photos, opinions, trip reports, guides, links, resources, personal stories, interviews, and research posts. Join us each Friday to link your British and Irish themed content and to see what others have to share. The link list is at the bottom of this post. Pour a cup of tea or lift a pint and join our link party!
Last week, I reviewed two older films, Effie Gray and What a Girl Wants. Tina reviewed Harbour Street, the sixth book in the Vera Stanhope series by Ann Cleeves. Heather reviewed a book called The Captain’s Midwinter Bride. As I’m writing this on Thursday, I can’t open Heather’s website, so I’ll link it up when I get access. Here’s the link: The Captain’s Midwinter Bride by Liana De la Rosa
Ammonite is a fictitious story about a real woman, Mary Anning. I’m fine with that, both in general and in this instance.
At the same time, the real story of Mary Anning is a greater fascination to me. Mary Anning was what we would now call a paleontologist. She lived from 1799 to 1847. At that time, both her gender and her class meant that she didn’t get credit for her work.
The first thing that I noticed about Ammonite was that there is no musical soundtrack. For some reason, that is always distracting to me, sometimes to the point that I find a film unwatchable. In this case, though, it allowed the sea to speak and I appreciated that, once I got used to the silence in other scenes. Ammonite is set in Lyme Regis, on the southern edge of England, and many scenes take place while Mary Anning searches for fossils along the shore.
Mary Anning, played by Kate Winslet, collects fossils and runs a small shop to sell them to tourists, supporting herself and her mother. An American fossil collector arrives in town with his wife as part of a tour of Europe. His wife, played by Saoirse Ronan, is unwell. When he continues his tour, he leaves his wife behind in the care of Mary Anning. She’s not particularly willing to be a paid companion, but she can’t afford to turn down the money.
Ammonite was filmed on location in Lyme Regis. That’s not a place I’ve visited, but would really like to someday. Before, my reasons were Persuasion by Jane Austen and The French Lieutenant’s Woman by John Fowles. Now, I have a third reason.
The film is a slow burn, but I enjoyed the setting and the acting. Rick, on the other hand, fell asleep.
Have you seen this 2020 film? What did you think?