I watched this in Southampton with a good female friend and I suppose this being natural as we were spaced three seats apart, Ammonite’s sheer intimacy ultimately wasn’t too awkward then. The story’s about a British palaeontologist, Mary Anning (played by Kate Winslet, in what frankly’s probably her best performance since Titanic!), resigned to her current life before her heart explodes open upon the arrival of a Charlotte Murchison (Saoirse Ronan).
Ronan equally matches Winslet in the vulnerable acting stakes here. On that note, about twenty minutes into Ammonite I wasn’t sure if this might your typical dry biopic. Looking back, it was likely designed that way but given how completely absorbing it becomes after those twenty minutes or so, it’s still a bit of a disappointment. I don’t want to describe follow-up scenes too much, other than to start by saying anyone who knows me could say I watch lots of films, right? Well a lot of those at times can almost have a sort of artificial affinity built into their bones, as if some can’t exactly reach the true primal heights of human feelings?
Boy then, is this movie different. I’m not convinced my heart’s been so ripped open by a film since (admittedly Rocks is also a recent exception), I’m not utterly sure, as if it reached me on a primal level like my dreams do.
In the end therefore, this year’s BFI Festival ended up closing on a brilliant film. Given the COVID-19 circumstances I can’t say that too lightly really. That’s unless saying assuming you can withstand the first twenty minutes, you’ll find a movie that does reach into you!