We loved Francis Lee’s debut film God’s Own Country, so much so that we wrote about a book about it. In this episode we discussed God’s Own Country and Ammonite, two films that are somewhat the antithesis of each other, to uncover how they explore class, sex, intimacy, and labour.
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This episode features Editor-in-Chief Alex Heeney, Executive Editor Orla Smith, Associate Editor Brett Pardy, and special guest Lena Wilson.
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God’s Own Country (2017)
A beautiful romance that bypasses a coming-out narrative, God’s Own Country is the story of an emotionally closed off young man, Johnny (an exquisite Josh O’Connor), learning to love himself and a lover, Romanian farm worker Georghe (Alec Secăreanu) and his life in the harsh English countryside.
In Ammonite, writer-director Francis Lee transports us back to 1800s Lyme, where pioneering paleontologist Mary Anning (Kate Winslet) spent her life finding, cleaning, and selling fossils. It’s hard, physical labour, where she’s constantly getting covered in mud, but as a working class woman, she was without the luxury of a change of clothes — something we’re made constantly aware of.
When a bumbling, posh paleontology hobbyist (James McArdle) pays her to spend time with his wife, Charlotte (Saoirse Ronan), who is mourning a lost child, the two women slowly open each other up through mucking about in the mud and looking at fossils. Mary is always working, never looking up from what she’s doing both out of necessity and pride, so it’s through this work that they form an intellectual connection which turns into something more. Their intense physical connection leads to both actors undergoing a gradual physical transformation into calmer, warmer, more vibrant versions of themselves.
- Purchase our God’s Own Country ebook, featuring interviews with Francis Lee, stars Josh O’Connor & Alec Secareanu, and cinematographer Joshua James Richards.
- Follow Lena on Tiktok @neilsmom
- Read Lena’s essay on Isabelle Adjani in Possession
- Read Lena’s essay on Rachel Morrison’s deeply empathetic cinematography
- Read Alex’s review of Ammonite from TIFF
- Read Alex’s essay on sex in the Saoirse Ronan starring On Chesil Beach