The reviews are in! ‘Ammonite’ set to be a smash hit after film festival premiere

Oscar-winning actresses Kate Winslet pictured meeting local schoolchildren while filming scenes for ‘Ammonite’ in Lyme Regis (photo by Janet Wraith)
Saoirse Ronan on the set of ‘Ammonite’ in Lyme Regis (photo by Richard Austin)

A FILM based on the life of Lyme Regis’ famous fossil hunter Mary Anning has won rave reviews after premiering at the Toronto Film Festival last week. 

The much-anticipated ‘Ammonite’ will be released on November 13 but film buffs were given a preview at the prestigious festival, and it seems the movie is set to be a smash hit.

The film stars Oscar-winning actress Kate Winslet as the working class palaeontologist Anning and Saoirse Ronan as Charlotte Murchison, a privileged young woman sent to convalesce by the sea.

Directed by Francis Lee, best known for his acclaimed debut ‘God’s Own Country’, the movie will explore the themes of class and same sex relationships with the two women developing an intense bond.

The BBC’s five star review read: “Lee depicts Mary and her world in rich detail. She combs the lonely beach and rocky cliffs for fossils, her clothes and fingernails muddy, while the sea rages and the wind howls.

“The background sounds are as perfectly devised as the images, which range from the crystalline brightness of the shore and sky to the shadowy, candlelit rooms in the small house Mary shares with her mother.

“The dramatically beautiful seaside of Lyme Regis is, of course, also the setting of The French Lieutenant’s Woman, yet another story of a scandalous affair from a previous century.”

The Telegraph’s review described ‘Ammonite’ as “one of the finest films of the year”, adding: “A shiveringly passionate period piece which describes an affair between the women, conducted in small, low-lit rooms and on pebbled shorelines under pewter skies.

“Ammonite must be the most sensually alive British picture since his [Francis Lee’s] 2017 debut, God’s Own Country: it’s the kind of film that does things to your fingertips, and makes you want to buy candles.”

The Guardian review read: “Ammonite is an absorbing drama that sensationally brings together two superlative performers: Saoirse Ronan and Kate Winslet. Combining these alpha players doubles or actually quadruples the screen voltage, and their passion co-exists with the cool, calm subtlety with which Lee inspects the domestic circumstances in which their paths crossed.”

With many scenes filmed in Lyme Regis last March, the release of ‘Ammonite’ is now expected to bring a tourism boom to the town similar to that caused by the 1980s film adaptation of ‘The French Lieutenant’s Woman’.

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