The trailer of period drama Ammonite is set in 19th century Britain. It is based on the life of British palaeontologist Mary Anning played by Kate Winslet.  The trailer promises a movie centred on a same sex relationship in this period drama. The film, upon trailer release, has run into controversy for suggesting that Mary Anning was gay. The film depicts Anning’s close relationship with another woman named Charlotte Murchinson, played by Saoirse Ranon.

Mary Anning: Who Was She?

Mary Anning was a palaeontologist in 19th Century England. She belonged to a time when the National Geographical Society in Britain did not admit woman. As a result, a lot of her discoveries have not been credited to her or the credit of discovery had been shared with another gentleman.

Posthumously her life became a subject of growing interest and she was acknowledged as one of the leading women contributor to science in 19th Century England. Today she is remembered as one of the greatest fossil hunter that ever lived. Ammonite is based on her life with a homosexual relationship as the central plot.

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What To Expect?

The trailer portrays the South of England, the scenic sea sides and, Mary is seen cleaning a fossil. The opening scene, Mary is heard describing the discovery of a six feet lizard fossil and the arduous task of cleaning it when she was eleven years old. Mary, is shown looking at the fossil with longing, now behind a glass case in British Museum of Natural Sciences.

Ranon as Charlotte, is introduced by her husband to Mary, who is suffering from “melancholia”. We see a Ranon submerged in grief while playing the piano. Mary who is hesitant to take on an apprentice agrees when Charlotte’s husband offers her a generous stipend. This scene is an ode to Mary Anning’s real life financial struggles. The Anning’s could barely make ends meet and depended a lot on charity.  Her entire family was involved in collection of fossils and selling them commercially. Mary never received due credit and the name and fame that comes along with the credit of discovery.

The remaining trailer is strife with scenes of budding friendship, companionship between the two women. Eventually they are witnessing love and physical intimacy blossoming. The atmosphere of the trailer is dark and gloomy, an ode to the England weather and perhaps even the tone of the movie. The interplay of light and shadows dominate the lighting the same way their relationship is portrayed, a tantalising chemistry, which must be kept in the shadows. The trailer ends with Charlotte desperately pleading with Mary about her unwillingness to go back to life as it was. Mary is heard asking, “What about my life?” The trailer trails off at this crucial question leaving the audience wondering and waiting for the film to be released on 12th November, 2020.

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Why It Matters?

Same sex relationships have existed since time immemorial and so has the taboo against them. Even today acceptance of such love stories remains in small progressive circles and have a hard time finding a larger audience or universal resonance. For a film and story line to be picked up and portrayed by two mainstream popular actresses shows a growing receptivity towards stories of diverse celebrations of love.

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