Thursday, December 3, 2020

Ammonite - Movie Review

The Movie: Ammonite

The Director: Francis Lee

The Cast: Kate Winslet, Saoirse Ronan, Gemma Jones, James McArdle, Alec Secareanu, Fiona Shaw

The Story: 1840s England, acclaimed but overlooked fossil hunter Mary Anning and a young woman sent to convalesce by the sea develop an intense relationship, altering both of their lives forever.

The Review:
Any movie starring Kate Winslet and Saoirse Ronan should be a slam dunk success as they are each so amazing in everything they do and are so consistently good. The idea of this movie reminds me, and apparently a lot of people, of another film called Portrait of a Lady on Fire, which is a fantastic love story that you should have already seen by now so if you haven't, you should change that as soon as possible. Both are beautifully filmed, feature kind of similar stories, and have very strong performances anchoring them.

Unfortunately, this movie, doesn't have nearly as compelling of a story as Portrait and I found myself struggling to stay engaged even with at least one of the two leading ladies on screen at all times. I don't know, maybe it's just me but I didn't find the story interesting at all and maybe I just couldn't help comparing the two films which quite honestly isn't a very fair comparison when it's all said and done. Even with strong performances from the actors, I didn't care about the characters and I feel like I wasn't given any reason to from how the story unfolded.

I'm afraid this is a case where just putting two premiere talents on the marquee does not guarantee success and all other aspects of the film need to be just as solid to keep up. The movie received a fair amount of praise coming out of film festivals which maybe added an unfair level of expectation. These types of films are often better off being discovered rather than anticipated so maybe that was why it didn't hit me like I was hoping.

The Verdict:
Ammonite is a blustery film that is better as an idea than as a finished product. High expectations and lofty comparisons may have sunk this meandering ship before it ever had a chance to sail.

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