Kate Winslet picture about renowned fossil hunter had been criticised by relatives for ‘unconfirmed’ portrait of her sexuality

The director of a new biopic about the celebrated fossil hunter Mary Anning has defended his film after criticism of its lesbian romance storyline.

Ammonite, which stars Kate Winslet and Saoirse Ronan, recently began filming in Lyme Regis, the coastal town in Dorset where Anning lived in the early 19th century. Anning never married and is not known to have had any direct descendants, but a report in the Telegraph suggested her distant relatives were at odds over the film’s central relationship, a romance between Anning and Frances Bell, with whom Anning is known to have corresponded.

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