Kate Winslet and Saoirse Ronan’s hotly-anticipated lesbian drama Ammonite has been showered with praise by critics
Kate Winslet and Saoirse Ronan’s lesbian drama Ammonite has been showered with praise by critics since its premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) on Friday (11 September).
Ammonite, directed by God’s Own Country‘s Francis Lee, has been hotly anticipated since the project was first announced in 2018.
The film is set on the English coast and gives the story of real-life palaeontologist Mary Anning a queer twist.
Anning is played by Winslet, while her love interest Charlotte is played by Saoirse Ronan.
Ammonite is being tipped for awards success following its debut at the Toronto Film Festival.
The film premiered on Friday, and both actors are already being tipped for major prizes in this year’s film awards circuit.
Ammonite won a five star review from BBC Culture film critic Caryn James, who heaped praise on the film for a “potent” central performance from Winslet.
“One of Lee’s brilliant choices is to refuse to put a soppy romantic gloss on the affair,” James wrote. “He suggests instead that passion can blind lovers to a true understanding of each other as easily as it can open their eyes.”
In a four star review for The Guardian, Peter Bradshaw called Ammonite an “intimate, intelligently acted movie about forbidden love in 1840s Lyme Regis.”
He praised both Winslet and Ronan, saying their energy on screen “doubles or actually quadruples the screen voltage”.
“It is a love story that is also a fascinating artefact: quixotic, romantic, erotic,” he wrote.
Screen Daily also gave the film a positive review. Critic Fionnuala Halligan praised Winslet’s performance, saying it is a “delight” to see her back with a “big role”. She also praised Ronan, saying the pair on screen together are “quite magnetic”.
Halligan also praised the film’s core, composed by Volker Bertelmann.
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One of Lee’s brilliant choices is to refuse to put a soppy romantic gloss on the affair.
“A film as delicate as this should not be pushed or even nudged; the music here accompanies our characters on their life’s big journey.”
Writing for Deadline, Todd McCarthy praised Ammonite for its “unusual and compelling subjects”, and said the film “should generate considerable excitement and debate after it can finally make its way into the world at large”.
Not all critics were convinced by Lee’s latest film. Writing for Variety, critic Peter Debruge said the film is “dreary but daring”.
He wrote that Ammonite is “oppressively stark” – something that is not helped by its “monochromatic” colour palette.
“Ultimately more symbolic than satisfying, the project leaves one grateful that two stars of this caliber would take on such a story, while wishing their efforts had left us with a more resonant artifact,” he added.
Ammonite will next go to the BFI London Film Festival and will be given a theatrical release in November.