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Hold the Phone, Saoirse Ronan Will Star In a Lesbian Period Drama Opposite Kate Winslet

Involving paleontology nonetheless!

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20gayteen keeps on giving: Kate Winslet and Saoirse Ronan will play the leads in upcoming lesbian drama Ammonite, from the writer-director behind God’s Own Country Francis Lee. Lee’s previous film centered on a romance between a farmhand and a migrant worker, and premiered at Sundance to critical acclaim.

Ammonite will be a period romance set in 1820, and follow an “unlikely romance between palaeontologist Mary Anning and a London woman of means to whom she must unexpectedly play nursemaid.”

Given that most lesbian films center on cheating or conversion therapy, I am thrilled to see a lesbian period romance that isn’t already about death and gloom. God’s Own Country presented a romantic drama in which Lee managed not to bury either of his gay characters and where they got a satisfying ending. I find it unlikely that he would suddenly switch tracks to go for the tragic lesbians trope, even if this is a period drama.

Winslet and Ronan are also genius casting, mostly because I have a crush on both of them and now I get to see them be gal pals on the big screen. Winslet is fresh off filming James Cameron’s Avatar 2, so she already deserves a far better role, and I’ve been a fan of Ronan’s for ages and am glad to see her getting steady work and continuing to accumulate Oscar nominations. While it is not clear year which role the actresses will be playing, I am going to assume Ronan will be playing Mary Anning as she is closer in age to Anning when the film is set.

While Wikipedia will tell you a great deal about Anning’s scientific contributions and her struggles in the community, it does not delve into any record of her personal life, so I cannot hint at the ending of the film based on history alone. Therefore, we can hope that the film isn’t overly tragic and gloomy, because really, do we need another lesbian movie that’s entirely about pain and trauma? No. We most certainly do not.

Seriously, I cannot stress this enough: do not make it overly tragic. That used to be the way you got queer content past the censors, but we are in 2018. Not every queer story is happy, but we have an overabundance of tragedy in queer cinema and fiction. By continuing to only tell negative stories, that is a form of aggression against the LGBT+ community. Positive representation matters. At this point in time, it’s somewhat irresponsible to only tell traumatic stories.

I trust Lee, based on his previous work, to tell a powerful and not exploitative story. I also cannot go back in time and somehow make sure Anning has a happy, long life. Still, I find myself hoping that this film will not be another exercise in trauma and grief but rather uplifting, and that will help steer the canon away from pain and more towards happy endings. Because I’m still waiting on my rom-com with Brie Larsen and Tessa Thompson, okay?

(via IndieWire, image: A24)

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Author
Kate Gardner
Kate (they/them) says sorry a lot for someone who is not sorry about the amount of strongly held opinions they have. Raised on a steady diet of The West Wing and classic film, they are now a cosplayer who will fight you over issues of inclusion in media while also writing coffee shop AU fanfic for their favorite rare pairs.