Period Piece, Ammonite, Graces the Silver Screen


The trailer for the upcoming romantic drama, Ammonite, written and directed by Francis Lee, starring Kate Winslet and Saoirse Ronan, has dropped recently and has caused some chatter and quite a stir in the LGBT community.

Lesbian period pieces are apparently the coup de jour as of late, with an influx of titles such as Portrait of a Lady on Fire, The Favourite, Carol, The Handmaiden, Vita & Virginia and Colette, amongst others.


The obvious problem with these films is the absence of representation and relatability to many in the LGBT community. With the exception of The Handmaiden, which consists of a primarily Korean cast, these films are greatly lacking in diversity.

While I can certainly agree with the inadvertent absence of diversity, I personally am eager to watch this film, being a huge fan of historical works.

While my favorite novelist is Sarah Waters, author of titles including Fingersmith (which inspired the South Korean film The Handmaiden), Tipping the Velvet and Affinity, with films by the same names, I vastly enjoy novels and films set in these earlier time periods.

Ammonite is just that. A period piece set in 1840s England which is inspired by the life of paleontologist, Mary Anning.


The film explores the romantic relationship between Mary and Charlotte Murchison, the wife of a wealthy tourist, Roderick Murchison who pays to place Charlotte in the care of Mary. While Mary is displeased with the intrusion, she reluctantly agrees as she is struggling financially to care for herself and her ailing mother.  Though she hunts for fossils to sell to rich tourists, she is barely above the poverty line and her days of fame and notoriety for her discoveries are well behind her.

While the real-life Mary Anning was a companion of geologist, Charlotte Murchison, a romantic relationship never occurred, or at least was never divulged. However, based on Anning’s letters, she had “intense” relationships with women, which director, Francis Lee has alluded to.

The trailer for Ammonite is short, under three minutes, and reveals little, but shows the women living and working together as they grow closer.

 “I don’t want to go back to the life I had before you.” – Charlotte Murchison

The film has promise, directed by Francis Lee, writer and director of the critically acclaimed God’s Own Country and starring Kate Winslet, who has Academy, Emmy and Grammy awards under her belt and Saoirse Ronan, Golden Globe Award winner and Academy Award nominee.

A follow-up review will be posted after the release of the film on November 13, 2020.

Check out the trailer below: