The first trailer for controversial lesbian period drama Ammonite has been released, showcasing Kate Winslet and Saoirse Ronan finding love by the seaside.
Winslet stars as fossil collector and paleontologist Mary Anning, whose findings along the English coast helped change scientific thinking about prehistoric life.
Anning was overlooked for most of her life, only getting the recognition she deserved after her death in 1847. Francis Lee’s film not only gives her the credit she is due, but also controversially gives her a lesbian romance, here with geologist Charlotte Murchison (Ronan).
Lee, the director of acclaimed gay drama God’s Own Country, has defended his decision to portray Anning in a lesbian context, noting that his film isn’t a biopic but is inspired by Anning’s life and work.
“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?” he previously tweeted.
Lee’s film, set near the end of Anning’s life, has her impoverished and selling fossils on the Southern English coastline to rich tourists in order to support her mother.
She meets a tourist who requests that Anning care for his young wife, Charlotte, who is recovering from a personal tragedy.
“Mary, whose life is a daily struggle on the poverty line, cannot afford to turn him down but, proud and relentlessly passionate about her work, she clashes with her unwanted guest,” the film’s bio states. “They are two women from utterly different worlds.
“Yet despite the chasm between their social spheres and personalities, Mary and Charlotte discover they can each offer what the other has been searching for: the realisation that they are not alone. It is the beginning of a passionate and all-consuming love affair that will defy all social bounds and alter the course of both lives irrevocably.”
Ammonite is set to premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival on September 11, with a U.S. release date currently set for November 13.
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