Well hey, it’s me, Megan Burns, being overly critical about a queer film again! (This is not a formal review, so don’t come for Alan, our official Film Editor if this seems like an unprofessional recap, because it intended to be exactly that! Also Alan didn’t authorize any of this, look out, world! Also, hi Alan!) This time we’re talking Ammonite, which just hit on demand streaming platforms this past Friday. (Obviously I rented it for $19.99.)
Was it worth the price tag? I mean, no. Do I wish I could turn back time and never have watched it? Also no.
The thing is, after being given the TRUE GIFT that was Portrait of a Lady on Fire for free (technically free if you did a free trial of Hulu, but subscription or not, still cheaper than $19.99) earlier this year, I do feel slightly robbed after having watched Ammonite; the two feel incredibly similar in their sapphic-sparse-dialogue-by-the-coast vibes, but only one makes me wish I was there. (Maybe if Portrait of a Lady on Fire never existed, or at least wasn’t released this year, I wouldn’t feel this way, but my god, Ammonite just pales in comparison by all accounts.)
Like, yes, obviously you could make the argument that $19.99 is a paltry sum to pay to see Saoirse Ronan (who plays Charlotte) sit on Kate Winslet’s (Mary’s) face. (Which does, indeed, happen.) But despite the handful of redeeming hot scenes, it just all feels a bit lackluster, and also kind of gross/unsanitary a lot of the time? I get that that sort of comes with the time period territory, but do we really need to lean into it? Like there’s an entire scene where Kate Winslet eats a hard-boiled egg before making out with Saoirse Ronan in the ocean (that fresh breath feeling, mmm!), and also Kate Winslet’s fingernails are always caked in dirt from her paleontology work, and also Kate Winslet’s mom in the movie is like, kind of just silently dealing with her own coughing-up-blood-into-a-napkin-in-the-background battle…all of it ends up feeling a bit Dickensian, and we are already living a colorless, germ-filled nightmare IRL what with ye olde pandemic. (Like, no thanks? Just me for team escapism?)
In sum, I REALLY WANTED TO LIKE A MOVIE ABOUT GAY FOSSIL HUNTING BUT GODDAMMIT, FOILED AGAIN!
Seriously, AM I INSANE? What did you think? (If you haven’t watched it yet, I strongly urge you to wait until it’s available to stream on your platform of choice for free w/ subscription.)