all 21 comments

[–]winterwillow 10 insightful - 2 fun10 insightful - 1 fun11 insightful - 2 fun -  (3 children)

Thanks for sharing your thoughts! I haven't seen the film, but I have read Tracy Chevalier's novel Remarkable Creatures about Mary Anning, and I'm familiar with her story. When I heard that Francis Lee was making this movie I thought they had uncovered something new, like love letters, that had prompted the lesbian story line. I was very surprised when I started to read more about it and found out that wasn't the case.

I can understand Lee's line of reasoning, but it doesn't hold up to me. There were many reasons why a woman wouldn't marry if she had the means not to. Anning was famous for her fossil-hunting from a young age and very independent. As a married woman she would have had a husband making her decisions for her, and children to care for, no time for walking for hours on the beach looking for dinosaurs. She might have been a lesbian sure, but just from reading about Ann Lister and her lovers during the same period, that didn't stop women from marrying men, for security, respectability and to have a family of their own. To interpret someone's unmarried life as a sign of homosexuality seems farfetched to me. And unless one has definate proof, letters, diaries, convictions, pictures etc, I don't think it's good practice to ascribe an historical person a sexuality.

I know it is tempting, I do a lot of genealogy research and of course I've found individuals that for different reasons I think potentially might've not been straight. But as long as it's only that, it will remain just an idea in my head. If they were indeed gay, I'm doing them justice by reckognizing that potential but if they weren't, I'm not doing them the injustice of ascribing them a different sexuality just because they didn't lead a heteronormative life. And the idea that homosexuality is biological didn't gain traction until the late 19th century, before that it was seen as a sin and the road to eternal damnation. Most LGB's lived on the surface the life of heterosexual people, leaving nothing behind to indicate otherwise.

I feel like Lee read the story of Anning, thought that it would make a great setting with the windswept desolate landscape (much like in God's own country) and it wouldn't be just another period drama by including a lesbian love story. I've read other mixed reviews as well, but I think I will watch it. I think Winslet is great and the trailer looks promising, even if I still do think Lee isn't doing right by Anning.

[–]Constantine 7 insightful - 1 fun7 insightful - 0 fun8 insightful - 1 fun -  (1 child)

Oh, God, I just made the connection of where this movie came from. When I first read about it, I thought it must be based on some other novel about a real historical woman who hunted fossils, because none of that was in the novel I read. But no, the guy just made it up, and I did read Remarkable Creatures.

The book was excellent as it was. Oh, this makes my blood boil. Why can't women just be single/have fulfilling platonic relationships without it being sexualized. It's like they thought, "There's no man in this story, that's a problem. Okay, let's just make the other woman her love interest because this story can't possibly be interesting enough without some steamy stuff thrown in." This is a problem I have with the TQ+ people, they just have to rewrite everything to pigeonhole people into labels. Like u/reluctant_commenter said, I think they're really uncomfortable with uncertainty, and perhaps to an even greater extent, nuance.

[–]lovelyspearmintLesbeing a lesbian 3 insightful - 1 fun3 insightful - 0 fun4 insightful - 1 fun -  (0 children)

It looks like the director is one of those people who's trying to capitalise on gay romance movies. I'm pretty sure his previous movie was a period drama about gay men too.

[–]reluctant_commenter 5 insightful - 1 fun5 insightful - 0 fun6 insightful - 1 fun -  (0 children)

I've found individuals that for different reasons I think potentially might've not been straight. But as long as it's only that, it will remain just an idea in my head. If they were indeed gay, I'm doing them justice by reckognizing that potential but if they weren't, I'm not doing them the injustice of ascribing them a different sexuality just because they didn't lead a heteronormative life.

Completely agree with this approach.

I wonder if, perhaps, some people who believe in transgender ideology and Queer Theory are actually uncomfortable with uncertainty, and that is why they try to slap a sexuality on everyone.

[–]RedEyedWarriorGay | Male | 🇮🇪 Irish 🇮🇪 | Antineoliberal | Cocks are Compulsory 10 insightful - 1 fun10 insightful - 0 fun11 insightful - 1 fun -  (2 children)

It’s hard to know with these things. A historical figure who was never married? Maybe was not attracted to the opposite sex, or maybe was not attracted to the same sex and just simply did not get married. Plenty of straight people have been single their whole lives. Some people just don’t do well with relationships and marriage, or have poor social skills, exceptionally high standards or were too busy for a relationship. We know that Oscar Wilde was gay because he was charged under the old buggary laws, which are now gone. But we can never know for sure if Leonardo da Vinci was gay, straight or bi. No evidence either way, just speculation, which is pointless.

Anyway, I haven’t seen the movie. In fact, I’m not familiar with Mary Anning. But if you’re going to represent a historical figure in your work, it has to be based on fact. You cannot make shit up just to virtue signal or push an agenda. The only context in which this is acceptable is comedy, and only if there is a disclaimer that acknowledges that the unproven characteristic of this figure was made up or based on speculation. But I don’t think the movie was a comedy, so Francis Lee should be ashamed of himself.

[–]julesburm1891[S] 2 insightful - 1 fun2 insightful - 0 fun3 insightful - 1 fun -  (0 children)

Yeah. At at that point I didn’t understand why they were trying to say it was someone’s life because it had no basis in their recorded life.

[–]Athelhilda2 1 insightful - 1 fun1 insightful - 0 fun2 insightful - 1 fun -  (0 children)

She could have been asexual for all we know.

[–]reluctant_commenter 8 insightful - 1 fun8 insightful - 0 fun9 insightful - 1 fun -  (1 child)

Furthermore, I got kind of Blue is the Warmest Color vibe from the movie. Meaning—it’s nominally a lesbian love story but it really feels like a bloke wanted to make a lesbian porno and get praised as open-minded for it. (Although Ammonite is nowhere near as gross as that travesty.)

Okay not to change the subject but THANK YOU! I have only watched parts of that movie but I have never understood the hype about it, it grossed me out and actually made me doubt my same-sex attraction for a brief time, back when I was deep in denial about it...

The whole movie just feels spoiled by the mischaracterization of a real person and the over-sexualization of lesbians.

I agree. I don't see why we can't make up our own stories about same-sex couples if there are no examples to draw from, and besides I think there ARE other examples without having to totally make up shit about historical figures. And Queer Theory is both homophobic and that director is being dumb. Two wrongs do not make a right, I completely agree!

Thanks for the review, also. I keep seeing people recommend movies with lesbian couples but so many have Queer Theory crap, or other messed-up messages in them. Guess I'll stick to Imagine Me & You... it's got some questionable elements too but at least it's not ahistorical, lol.

[–]julesburm1891[S] 4 insightful - 1 fun4 insightful - 0 fun5 insightful - 1 fun -  (0 children)

Right? If your sex scenes are so graphic that you have have a prosthetic vagina over an actresses actual vagina, you are making a porno. All of the sex scenes in Blue is the Warmest Color were pretty much the same as porn aimed at straight guys. I don’t know a single lesbian irl that likes the movie.

[–]8bitgay 8 insightful - 1 fun8 insightful - 0 fun9 insightful - 1 fun -  (0 children)

In this situation I wonder why even bother making a movie about real people when you could just change their names and call it a fictional work.

[–]marmorsymphata 7 insightful - 1 fun7 insightful - 0 fun8 insightful - 1 fun -  (6 children)

Society in general is far too sex obsessed. Why the great need to pick apart Anning's sex life? Why is it so vitally important that every facet of fiction involves romance or sexuality? Like what is the goal here?

The most respectful way is not to make shit up at all. People should be allowed to be uninterested in romance or to keep their romantic life private. People have got to learn how to keep their preoccupations out of biographical work. Maybe the director can fool himself into thinking he's being altruistic, but what has that got to do with Mary Anning? Why use her life as a soapbox?

I decided not to pursue a relationship in my teenage years because I wanted to work on myself first, and didn't want to become someone else's fixer-upper because of my mental illness. Now that I am approaching 30, I've realized the drive has mostly left me. Maybe I'll meet someone, maybe I won't. It doesn't really matter to me anymore. Some people are just like this and the need to pick them apart for it shows just how oversexxed people are. They can't find a stranger's sex life and their only reaction is "this needs to be fixed"

[–]just_lesbian_things 2 insightful - 1 fun2 insightful - 0 fun3 insightful - 1 fun -  (5 children)

The most respectful way is not to make shit up at all.

Are you against all historical fiction? Are there no respectful ways of portraying a historical or contemporary figure in film? This isn't a documentary. The filmmaker is going to take some liberties.

[–]panderichthys 3 insightful - 1 fun3 insightful - 0 fun4 insightful - 1 fun -  (3 children)

Historical fiction is not the same as a biography. Obviously an original work set in the same historical period would be all right, but this isn't that. If you're going to make shit up about your historical figure anyway, why bother? Just use your imagination. And I completely agree that Anning's romantic proclivities are no one's business until and unless someone somehow discovers a lost manuscript or what-have-you detailing every sexual interaction of hers. Which is very unlikely to say the least as she had a life and career beyond all that.

[–]just_lesbian_things 2 insightful - 1 fun2 insightful - 0 fun3 insightful - 1 fun -  (2 children)

If you're going to make shit up about your historical figure anyway, why bother?

Historical figure probably captured someone's imagination? Historical drama has been a staple of human story telling since there were stories. The Iliad, Antony and Cleopatra, Three Kingdoms, all contain re-imagination of historical figures. Hollywood regularly churn out hits based on real people- The Social Network, Twelve Years a Slave, American Sniper, Imitation Game. Do you hate all works of fiction based on real people? Or do you only take issue with this example as you find it egregious and distasteful? Because I'd like to remind you that Xuanzang the monk was given a magical monkey sidekick in Journey to the West, King Odysseus got raped by a magical nymph in the Odyssey, and King Richard III ordered his nephews' assassination in Richard III.

[–]panderichthys 1 insightful - 1 fun1 insightful - 0 fun2 insightful - 1 fun -  (1 child)

Now that you brought it up, it's really not the fantastical elements that bother me, just the fact that we can't leave real people well enough alone. So in answer to your question, no, I do not take issue only with Ammonite. But people will be people. I can hardly confront Homer and Shakespeare about their livelihoods, and even if I could, they would rightly tell me to fuck off.

[–]just_lesbian_things 1 insightful - 1 fun1 insightful - 0 fun2 insightful - 1 fun -  (0 children)

I'd argue that lots of people go great lengths to be remembered, and that it's generally considered a great honor if people are telling stories about you long after your death, even if they're taking some liberties with the details.

[–]ChunkeeguyTeam T*RF Fuck Yeah 6 insightful - 1 fun6 insightful - 0 fun7 insightful - 1 fun -  (1 child)

I'm refusing to see it because Mary Anning was a bit of a hero to me when I was a fossil/dinosaur mad kid. I really envied her making those incredible discoveries and was thrilled when I eventually saw them in the British museum. I just don't understand why this was done but your theory sounds credible.

[–]julesburm1891[S] 3 insightful - 1 fun3 insightful - 0 fun4 insightful - 1 fun -  (0 children)

She was such an amazing woman. Actually seeing her finds must’ve been fantastic!

[–]lovelyspearmintLesbeing a lesbian 5 insightful - 1 fun5 insightful - 0 fun6 insightful - 1 fun -  (0 children)

While I haven't seen the movie, the one thing that bothers me is the sheer difference in age between the two, at least IRL. But that's just me.

This isn't the first time Winslet has played a supposed historical lesbian. She was great in Heavenly Creatures, although there was no concrete evidence that her character (who became the novelist Anne Perry) ctually was a lesbian; as far as I know she never married or had any male partners whatsoever.

[–]begonia_skies 4 insightful - 1 fun4 insightful - 0 fun5 insightful - 1 fun -  (0 children)

I had a lot of issues with the movie and I did not really care for it. I saw a lot of praise for the sex scenes, but to me, they felt almost too... modern? Definitely out of place given the overall tone. I watched A Portrait of a Lady on Fire afterward and was reminded of how superior it was compared to Ammonite. I didn't really feel the chemistry between Winslet and Ronan, and the movie needed to open the doors a bit on the portrayal of Anning, we had little insight into her interworkings and the screenplay was, in my opinion, pretty poor. Winslet and Ronan really gave it their best, but there wasn't much to work with and it felt stilted. I sort of felt the same way about Carol, it's like they didn't really have a real relationship, just lots of longing looks...

As far as the reworking of a historical figure, it didn't personally bother me or take away from the film. Historical fiction can have a place to imagine what might have been, I just don't think this movie does a great job of it.

[–]censorshipment 2 insightful - 1 fun2 insightful - 0 fun3 insightful - 1 fun -  (0 children)

Sounds similar to the "Professor Marston and the Wonder Women" controversy. The movie was written and directed by Angela Robinson, a lesbian, and she had no evidence (to my knowledge) that Marston's wife and his mistress (Margaret Sanger's niece) were lovers or at least in love with each other... but the women did live together for about 4 decades after his death.