ELLE FANNING CHRISTINA HENDRICKS ALICE ENGLERT ANNETTE BENNING TIMOTHY SPALL ALESSANDRO NIVOLA OLIVER PLATT
GINGER & ROSA
Writer and director Sally Potter has made some interesting films, including The Man Who Cried with Cate Blanchett and Johnny Depp in a near speechless role and Yes with Joan Allen. Potter’s films never seem to capture a wide audience and the same can be said with Ginger & Rosa. The audience is thrust into the lives of these two rebellious teenage girls and the story tries to build character along the way like someone standing on the edge of a speeding train, grabbing what they can as they pass by. Elle Fanning (The Curious Case of Benjamin Button), younger sister of Dakota, gets her first real lead role in which she shows strength but also annoyance.
Concerned with the atomic bomb and if the tension between the US and Cuba will destroy everything in her London world, Ginger (Fanning) and best friend Rosa (Englert) begin to drift apart when Rosa falls in love with Ginger’s father Roland, the pacifist. Recently separated Roland and Nat (Hendricks) got married and had Ginger when they were only children themselves. Ginger tries to focus on protesting the war, but what she really wants to protest is the fact that the two most important people in her life have turned their attention away from her.
Ginger & Rosa really does enter soap opera territory with the plot but denies the audience that scene where everyone finds out what we suspected from the very first time Roland looked in his rear view mirror at Rosa. We have to sit through these silly teenage girls' stupid antics and hear their laughable view of life and the future. At one hour and fifteen minutes, with the entire cast in one room, finally we get that scene where the cat is let out of the bag and all is finally revealed and Ginger actually has something to write about in her poetry journal.
The best scenes of the film center around Oscar nominee Bening, who plays a know-it-all American who gives her opinions freely and decisively. Ginger’s character has some interesting attributes, like when she tries to smoke or drink but makes awful disapproving faces at the taste or smell. I found it comical that Ginger runs around telling everyone the end is near, and all the adults laugh at her mentally while encouraging her to continue to protest and investigate almost as a way to be rid of her. “Not everyone can save the world like you, Ginger,” Rosa says to her right before she reveals she is pregnant.
Final Thought – Dull and lifeless until we get to one scene at the end that gives us what we wanted to see all along.
By: Dustin Chase W.
Dr. Donna Copeland’s
This is a very disturbing story about the cataclysmic events a teenage girl will undergo in the space of a short time. It is the 60’s when the U.S. and the Soviet Union are having a standoff about nuclear war. Unfortunately, Ginger (Elle Fanning) is about to have another part of her existence completely torn away. One potential threat is a metaphor for the other.
Ginger (Elle Fanning) and Rosa (Alice Englert) grow up together, and in their teens become very close, sharing everything. Ginger’s mother Natalie (Christina Hendricks) does not think Rosa—who is more “worldly”—is an especially good influence, but without the support of her husband Roland (Alessandro Nivola), lets it go. Roland does not really support her in this, or in much of anything. He is a professor, and talks and writes about the freedom of the individual and the responsibility to live by one’s own code of conduct. So he encourages Ginger and Rosa to LIVE, and to live by whatever set of morals they have developed.
Ginger is a serious young woman with aspirations of being a poet. She keeps up on current affairs in the world, reads, and thinks. Rosa is not inclined in that direction, but believes that everything is in God’s hands, so it is best not to try to alter life events. She feels her responsibility is in being there for the one she has chosen. These two philosophies of life will come to a head-on collision eventually that will separate the two friends.
Sally Potter, the writer/director seems to be making a point about different philosophies of life, and how they can profoundly affect the individual. Similarly, global events can have an impact. In this case, not only do these two forces come together, they coincide with major events in Ginger’s personal life, and her pain in going through it is palpable. We get the impression she will be OK. In this respect, the film is brilliant. What is lacking is a picture of the outcome in terms of Ginger. What kind of person does she turn out to be? I would like to think that these were character-building experiences, because she is so thoughtful, and that she becomes more grounded in herself and her place in the world; whereas presumably Rosa is already in for trouble because of the absence of these experiences and qualities. Grade: B