Jacob’s review published on Letterboxd:
"I don't want to be alone."
Mary hasn't lived a life of wealth or security, but she's always had her mind. She's good with her hands and just as skilled at understanding what she holds in them. Her work is well-regarded, but as she explains early on, it's fallen out of the public's interest. Her talents leave her lonely still, and she keeps herself guarded for the sake of her peace of mind. Charlotte doesn't understand Mary's defenses because she hasn't needed protecting. Beyond their difference in years, these women have lived wildly different lives, only to now be stuck together by the sea. Their time together is framed as a liberation for them both, but I never felt the freedom. These are two lonely people who wanted to be held, and I believe that's all they were to one another -- kind-enough strangers within proximity. Every touch feels desperate and strange, as these women don't truly relate to one another. The film itself is a cold one, but their relationship is largely the same.
As a story of loneliness and the social separation of different classes, Ammonite works decently. It remains a cold, slow, slow burn of a tale, but it does ultimately makes it's point. What I was least taken by were the moments of connection that never rang true for me. Had I not known this film was presented as a romantic one, I wouldn't have guessed it until an hour in. For me, there was no spark, and it was uncomfortable watching these actresses try to convince of me of something that wasn't there.