Ammonite

Ammonite ★★

"I don't want to go back to the life I had before you."
"What about my life?"

The definition of Oscar bait. Ammonite is unbelievably stale and dull as a period romance. I recall being excited to watch this film until my friends encouraged me to wait for a home release. Borrowing this film from my local library turned out to be the right call.

There's no denying that Ammonite is beautifully filmed, and the production values are stellar but do they mean much if there is little to the story? I'm not sure how historically accurate Ammonite is, but the thing is that it chooses to portray its story in a dry manner. Unfortunately, director Francis Lee dries the emotions too much that there is no room for an emotional and sensual connection. There was intimacy and emotional stakes in his previous film God's Own Country. Where did that go???

For crying out loud, this feels like a male filmmaker wanted to make his own British version of Portrait of a Lady on Fire but forgot how to make the chemistry and script believable and also added the male gaze to the lesbian sex scenes. And these are Ammonite's most fatal flaws. As much as I love Saoirse Ronan and Kate Winslet, these two actresses lacked chemistry. I don't know what happened, but if I feel nothing between the two characters, why should I care? That, along with lacklustre writing and sluggish pacing, makes Ammonite the dullest Oscar bait of 2020.

Before you all slam me into screaming I didn't get the film, I saw what it was going for. I didn't vibe with any scene in Ammonite. At least the style and production sets are gorgeous, but if a romance lacks chemistry and emotion, then style will not do much to save the film. At least Portrait of a Lady on Fire was not only beautifully shot but explored complex themes of femalehood and depicted an extremely believable relationship. Celine Sciamma's direction also gave that film another layer of authenticity it needed, and that's why Portrait of a Lady on Fire is a masterpiece. Watch that film instead. Or if you have, then give it a rewatch.

And I'll end my review on this note: I was texting a friend earlier today, and when he found out I haven't watched the first two Spider-Man films with Tobey Maguire, he asked what I was doing with my life. And that is the most valid question I've heard all day. I should focus on being an entirely credible film bro rather than waste my time on bland arthouse movies and new releases.

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