Ammonite

Movie review by
Stefan Pape, Common Sense Media
Ammonite Movie Poster Image
Sexually graphic British period drama about forbidden love.
  • R
  • 2020
  • 117 minutes

Parents say

age 18+
Based on 1 review

Kids say

age 17+
Based on 2 reviews

Did we miss something on diversity?

Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

Romance and companionship are at the core of this story. How love and friendship can help form a positive outlook when dealing with depression. Curiosity and peserverance are also displayed, particularly in the face of a sexist and conservative society.

Positive Role Models

Given the time period, society is very male-dominated and doesn't allow much room for women to flourish. Charlotte is treated as a second-class citizen, even in the eyes of her husband who suppresses her. Her mental health is not taken seriously either. But Mary is a strong-willed woman, who is making a success of herself professionally through diligence and dedication to her craft. However, she is overlooked and not quite given the same esteem a male counterpart would receive.

Violence

Character falls from a middling height while looking for fossils amongst the rocks. A character with health issues becomes increasingly ill as the story progresses.

Sex

Graphic sex scenes are depicted on a few occasions. This includes oral sex, masturbation, kissing, and touching. There is both male and female full-frontal nudity with breasts, bare buttocks, and genitalia clearly on display.

Language

Infrequent language includes the use of "f--k" and "s--t."

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

A character smokes cigarettes frequently. There is a scene in a restaurant where characters order wine.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Ammonite is a sexually graphic period drama that celebrates the power of love between two women. It is loosely based on the life of the British palaeontologist Mary Anning (Kate Winslet). Mary meets Charlotte Murchison (Saoirse Ronan) after Charlotte's husband arranges for her to work with Mary. The two women begin an affair, bringing them both happiness they haven't experienced before. Charlotte suffers from depression, but this romantic awakening gives her a new positive outlook. Both characters have a quiet strength about them. Mary, in particular, defies societal boundaries to make a great success for herself in her chosen field. That said, the movie also demonstrates the inequalities between the sexes during this time period (the 1840s), with Mary being prevented from even greater success. The sex scenes between Mary and Charlotte are graphic but not gratuitous. They perform oral sex on each other and masturbate. There's full-frontal nudity, including female genitalia and breasts. There is also a brief moment where a male character undresses and his penis is seen. Swearing is infrequent but includes "f--k" and "s--t." Characters drink alcohol socially, and one character smokes throughout the movie.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written bymodernartchick December 21, 2020

Ammonite. Dynamite!

This movie is a movie I could watch 2 times in a row. It was amazing! I love it when you have a movie with barely any words with so much emotion. Kate is amazin... Continue reading
Written byAnonymous March 6, 2021

Great cinematography, amazing acting, but flawed as well

Mature 13 year olds can watch, but I'd probably have to say 14+, even though I saw it at 12. There's one very graphic sex scene with nudity and it las... Continue reading
Teen, 14 years old Written byMsGagaVisage December 4, 2020

Beautiful

Ammonite is a beautiful film focused around a real historical figure named Mary Anning a fossil hunter from Dorset ...this film does have some GRAPHIC sex scene... Continue reading

What's the story?

Set in the 1840s, AMMONITE finds respected fossil hunter Mary Anning (Kate Winslet) spending her days working diligently on the south coast of England. Her life is rocked when a wealthy researcher pays for his wife Charlotte (Saoirse Ronan) to shadow her at work, in a bid to improve her mental health. While the two women clash at first, an intense romantic relationship soon develops.

Is it any good?

Ammonite is a film that thrives in its mood, a beautifully shot, visceral piece of filmmaking by Francis Lee, that shows off his ability as a storyteller, so poetic with his camera. Though, as a follow-up to the wonderful God's Own Country, this movie does feel inferior, mostly in the relationship at the core of the story.

The two central performances by Winslet and Ronan are unsurprisingly brilliant. Both women are so subtle in their depictions, allowing much of this tale to be told in the sub-text. But there's something missing in the love they depict. It lacks a spark, and subsequently it's not easy for the viewer to fully invest in their relationship. This is sadly reflective of a movie that just lacks a little substance to do justice to the stylistic talents of those behind the lens.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how Ammonite portrays sex. Is it affectionate? Respectful? Parents, talk to your teens about your own values regarding sex and relationships.

  • Discuss the time period that the movie is set in. How are women viewed and treated? Are you surprised to see what women went through? How does this compare to today?

  • How does the movie handle the subject of sexuality? How might Mary and Charlotte's relationship be received today in comparison to the 1840s?

  • Charlotte suffers from depression. Did it seem a realistic portrayal of someone suffering from the illness? Charlotte is forced to endure much of her illness alone. Why is it important that we are open about our mental health and feelings?

  • Mary Anning was a highly-skilled fossil hunter, putting in so much craft and dedication to her work. Would you describe her as a role model? Why or why not? What other female role models can you think of?

Movie details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love drama

Character Strengths

Find more movies that help kids build character.

Themes & Topics

Browse titles with similar subject matter.

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

See how we rate

Streaming options powered by JustWatch

About these links

Common Sense Media, a nonprofit organization, earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes when you use our links to make a purchase. Thank you for your support.

Read more

Our ratings are based on child development best practices. We display the minimum age for which content is developmentally appropriate. The star rating reflects overall quality.

Learn how we rate