Ammonite, dir. Francis Lee, UK 2020, 112 min.
A fictionalised account of the life of the 19th century palaeontologist Mary Anning, Kate Winslet plays the pioneering scientist with Ronin as the gentlewoman who falls in love with her while staying in Mary’s beloved Lyme Regis. Francis Lee once again displays his ability to convey vivid textures and a strong sense of place – from the salty seaside cottage and the weight of a fossil or tool, to the roar of the sea – and is aided by Stéphane Fontaine’s (A Prophet, Jackie) first rate cinematography. Deftly taking in the erasure of women from the history of science, the film is also woven through with an unusually subtle take on class difference in small town 19th-century Britain and its subversion within the exclusive company of women. Yet at its heart, Ammonite is a love story – one of great intimacy and candour – with Winslet and Saoirse Ronan excelling in movingly unguarded performances.