“Ammonite” is Surprisingly Unsexy

Scientific sources indicate director Francis Lee made a movie called Ammonite (C-) with Kate Winslet as a paleontologist  who falls in love with an ailing tourist played by Saoirse Ronan on the Southern English coast in the 19th century, but fossil evidence shows little to no chemistry occurred nor did the proceedings leave much of an imprint. The film starts with the classic Meet Cute of Kate’s character urinating on a beach followed by offering her love interest a hunk of baguette, and it honestly doesn’t get much more intriguing than that as the plot progresses. Lee’s Jurassic lark squanders the prodigious talents of his central actresses and surrounds them with a lackluster ensemble including a stoic mom who’s a dead ringer for Senator Mitch McConnell. Winslet’s character is, for the most part, impenetrable; and Ronan doesn’t have much to do at all except shiver and dote. I suppose there’s a theme about examining the cellular level of forbidden romance, but most of the film’s duration is a languid parade of Cretaceous incredulity.  It’s filmed in drab tones and doesn’t yield much intrigue or joy. It just may be the most boring dinosaur adjacent movie of recent years. For a much better “repressed women in period costumes falling in love beachside film,” see last year’s brilliant Portrait of a Lady on Fire.

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