Writer-director Francis Lee, who produced God’s Own Country, is back with a new gay-forward film. Ammonite will tell the story of an “unlikely romance” between Mary Anning, a paleontologist, and another young woman who is sent to recover from a serious illness by the sea. Set in 1820, it is guaranteed to have lots of lovely period details and coded gay longing.
God’s Own Country, Lee’s previous film, told the story of another queer romance, this time between a farmer and a migrant worker and was met with critical acclaim. While we don’t have much information about the upcoming film at this point, Lee’s graceful handling of same-sex desire and longing in God’s Own Country is a good sign for the success of the upcoming Ammonite.
Another good sign for the film is that Lee has cast Saoirse Ronan as the paleontologist and Kate Winslet as her love interest. Queers have loved Saoirse Ronan for years, from her relatable performance in Ladybird to this year’s intense period piece Mary Queen of Scotts, where she plays Mary Stuart who is attempting to overthrow her cousin Elizabeth I.
Winslet, known her appearance in The Reader and Revolutionary Road, seems like the perfect actress to play a windswept lover on the moors. In a year when we have had more queer and queer-inclusive media than ever, it is important to see director’s continue to tell new kinds of queer stories. Ammonite looks like it has the potential to be a hopeful, beautiful, love story set in a period where we traditionally have not spent much time considering queer identities. Hopefully, it will be as moving and inclusive as Lee’s previous work without being overly tragic. Whatever happens, though, we can’t wait to see Ronan sweep Winslet off her feet.