Kate Winslet and Saoirse Ronan are equal parts horny and melancholic as the paleontologist Mary Anning and her lover
The first trailer for Ammonite, a Victorian era drama starring Kate Winslet and Saoirse Ronan as a famous paleontologist and the younger woman sent to stay (aka have an intense romantic relationship) with her, has arrived.
Specifically, the new film directed by Francis Lee – the filmmaker behind another acclaimed gay romance from 2017, God’s Own Country – centres around the real paleontologist and fossil hunter Mary Anning, and Charlotte Murchison, who has been sent to convalesce by the sea by her husband, because “she suffers from melancholia”.
Needless to say, Anning and Murchison’s lesbian relationship ensues, although one IRL family member has protested that there’s no evidence to suggest Anning was actually gay. In response, Lee has made clear that the film is “not a biopic”, adding in a Twitter thread earlier this year: “After seeing queer history be routinely ‘straightened’ throughout culture, and given a historical figure where there is no evidence whatsoever of a heterosexual relationship, is it not permissible to view that person within another context?”
Either way, Ammonite (previously slated to have its first screening at Cannes) will premiere at Toronto Film Festival later this year, and is already providing us with some very iconic scenes in the trailer alone. Here, we’ve rounded up some of the best.
THE MULTIPLE HORNY GLANCES AND MOURNFUL STARES
“I’m not looking for an apprentice,” says Winslet’s Mary Anning, when she firsts meets Ronan’s character. There’s no hiding the undeniable tension in the following scenes of the trailer though, which see restrained, furtive glances blossom into eye contact that isn’t very Victorian. With Kate’s established career in period dramas, this seems like pretty much the perfect way to pass the torch on to Saoirse, while carrying on the recent tradition of reviewing the historical stories through a queer lens.
THE BEACH SCENES RECALLING PORTRAIT OF A LADY ON FIRE
Céline Sciamma’s similarly sapphic 2019 film Portrait of a Lady on Fire was deservedly awarded the Queer Palm at Cannes. While it may have taken place in a different country and a different century to Ammonite (Sciamma’s film was set in France in the late 18th century; Lee’s in 1840s England) both films make full use of their respective windswept beaches.
KATE ON HER KNEES CLUTCHING AT SAOIRSE’S BODICE
A must-have scene in a romantic historical drama, TBH. Bonus points are in order here, for all the close-up shots of bodice details and the (surely symbolic) tightening of corsets.
SAOIRSE’S CHARACTER SUFFERING FROM MELANCHOLIA
Expect lots of relatable moping in bed from Saoirse Ronan in Ammonite. That’ll be the melancholia (or, in this case, read: Saoirse’s character yearning for the lesbian existence she could be living if she wasn’t stuck inside Victorian era binaries).
saoirse stop ✋🏼playing with us 😂 that shit ain't melancholia ❌😒 you're just gay and horny 😜— lucy daks (@AFFOGATO666) August 25, 2020
KATE WINSLET PLAYING A GENTLEMAN JACK-LIKE CHARACTER
In the BBC series by Sally Wainwright and based on the diaries of Anne Lister, the landowner and industrialist enters a relationship with another woman while restoring an estate in West Yorkshire. In Ammonite, Mary Anning is doing the same at the other end of the country, while combing the beaches of Dorset.
SAOIRSE AND KATE WORKING ON PALEONTOLOGY
The film is, after all, about a famous paleontologist. Nevertheless, expect the work to be interrupted by plenty of those aforementioned horny glances (think: sensual crafts à la Ghost).
SAOIRSE TELLING KATE: “I DON’T WANT TO GO BACK TO THE LIFE I HAD BEFORE YOU”
We already know that we’ll be reaching for the tissues by this point. Obviously Saoirse’s time by the sea hasn’t made the prospect of going back home to her husband any easier. And honestly, who can blame her?
Currently, Ammonite is set for a November 13 release. Watch the full trailer below.