1840s England, acclaimed but overlooked fossil hunter Mary Anning and a young woman sent to convalesce by the sea develop an intense relationship, altering both of their lives forever.
The film has this slow build that showcases Mary (Kate Winslet), who lurks around the ocean to find the Ammonite throughout the shells’ mist and the sand. I was impressed with the film’s opening shots as the cinematography was beautiful, and the lack of dialogue put you in suspense.
Next, the relationship between Mary and Charlotte is one of which neither of them wanted to begin with. They aren’t fond of each other, but as they are forced to spend time with each other, they begin to grow keen. Winslet and Ronan do a great job of making their relationship awkward and quirky as they genuinely make you believe they do not like each other.
While the film has a Portrait of Lady on Fire feel to it, that, for me, was not a good thing as I was not a fan of that film either. There are many drawn-out scenes with simply no dialogue or meaning behind them, which was frustrating.
Furthermore, the film is incredibly dull and just uneventful from start to finish. You have nothing to invest in. You have no character development, no rooting interest, just a ton of banter between people who don’t like each other and a pair of women who fall in love with each other in the midst of it all.
Although the film doesn’t work, you can’t hate the acting between Winslet and Ronan, which play their parts and do what we would expect from the pair. They do their best to work with the lull of dialogue and enrich the film any chance they get.
Last, we finally get to the final, and it was rather anti-climatic. The slow build throughout the film and the relationship are being formed to end it the way they did, and it just fell flat.
Jacob is a film critic and co-founder of the Music City Drive-In. He is a member of the Music City Film Critics’ Association and specializes in the awards season. You can find him on Twitter @Tberry57.