Sloan Foundation Film

Release Date



  • Francis Lee


  • Kate Winslet
  • Saoirse Ronan
  • Alec Secareanu
  • Fiona Shaw


  • 2020 SFFILM: Science in Cinema Prize

Acclaimed paleontologist Mary Anning works alone selling common fossils to tourists to support her ailing mother, but a chance job offer changes her life when a visitor hires her to care for his wife.

In the 1840s, acclaimed self-taught palaeontologist Mary Anning works alone on the wild and brutal Southern English coastline of Lyme Regis. The days of her famed discoveries behind her, she now hunts for common fossils to sell to rich tourists to support herself and her ailing widowed mother. When one such tourist, Roderick Murchison, arrives in Lyme on the first leg of a European tour, he entrusts Mary with the care of his young wife Charlotte, who is recuperating from a personal tragedy. Mary, whose life is a daily struggle on the poverty line, cannot afford to turn him down but, proud and relentlessly passionate about her work, she clashes with her unwanted guest. They are two women from utterly different worlds. Yet despite the chasm between their social spheres and personalities, Mary and Charlotte discover they can each offer what the other has been searching for: the realization that they are not alone. It is the beginning of a passionate and all-consuming love affair that will defy all social bounds and alter the course of both lives irrevocably. [Sloan Science & Film]

Banner image courtesy of Neon

Possible Topics

  • Paleontology and fossils
  • Evolution of scientific methods
  • Women in science: contributions and struggles
  • Grief and depression

Past Programs


Mary Anning: Paleontology's unsung hero

MSP Film Society, Minneapolis, MN


Celebrating unsung women of science through stage and screen

California Film Institute, San Rafael, CA



Women pioneers in STEM

Images Cinema, Williamstown, MA

Leaving a mark: Life as a modern paleontologist

County Theater, Doylestown, PA