It's hard to find an British debut film as sweet and hopeful as the film of the film of Francis Lee's God's Own Country. A witty tale of the blossoming romance between a worker who is a migrant and the son of his employer, who is gay, derived its power from its landscape of rolling Yorkshire location, and can be more revealing about the goodness of love through a plate of homemade pasta than a complete sonnet.
Lee's sequel continues to highlight the sly relationship that develops two souls who are unattached as they smack each other. His character plays Mary (Kate Winslet ), who plays an actual, well-known 19th century Palaeontologist) who lives in a shabby house along with her mum (a bubbly Gemma Jones). Their existence is fueled by her keen interest in rare fossils found on the devastated local coastline. The exposition is kept light and concise, Lee establishes Mary's solitary and stoic existence through her daily grafting. Only through a few sporadic interactions , we discover that her palaeontological talents have been squelched into resignation as many men have taken her talent and presented these in their personal.
One of them One of them is Roderick Murchison (James McArdle) who is a witty and condescending scientist who appears at Mary's house with a large wallet along with Charlotte (Saoirse Ronan) his wife who is grieving recovering from a miscarriage. Much like God's Own country, the fling among Mary and Charlotte is a bit sluggish initially (in fact, they are portrayed as friends, instead of lovers) and is helped by the fact that Roderick has left for work. While Charlotte's constant gaze eats away at Mary's facade, Lee — a former actor himself is able to bring the film's other elements to a simmer, refusing to let the film's dialog or plot distract from his main performances.
It's Winslet but she is the star of the film, giving the performance you've hoped for from her for many years.
Ronan is able to create subtle character within the constraints of a character who's been a character for the entirety of her life (a scene where Roderick demands Charlotte's dinner made solely to anger). It's Winslet however, who is the star of the show and delivers the performance you've been waiting for from her since a long time. Free of any major backstory her body moves fervently between scenes with the broad, confident physique that is both stunning and seldom praised on the screen. In the film's captivating unique sex scene the camera takes a natural posture while capturing Winslet's powerful abdominals, legs and stomach as film director Stephane Fontaine bathes her skin in a gaslamp glow.
What Ammonite has in terms of story, what it does make up with its impressive production design. The meticulous production and costume design shuns the lavish fixtures of a period show to create something more grounded and real and Fontaine employs muted, elegant blues and greys to highlight the unruly elements Mary and Charlotte traverse in tandem.
With its stark and gruelling views, sharp frame of gender and class and its cultivated, energised performances, Ammonite seems like the continuation of Lee's highly skilled and refined abilities, rather than an attempt to conquer new territory. When a filmmaker is able to capture intimateness as well as Lee is, however it's as if it's impossible to have too enough of a good thing.