'Can’t you be a girl for a moment or two longer?’ That’s kindly, avuncular Mark (Timothy Spall) talking to his deadly-serious teenage goddaughter, Ginger (Elle Fanning), in Sally Potter’s intimate, intense coming-of-age drama. It’s set during the Cuban Missile crisis – as the world teeters on the edge of nuclear war. Ginger is on the brink too, and Fanning’s genuinely breathtaking performance, bare and brave (she was 13 at the time) beautifully captures innocence at the moment of its passing – that shiver of teen expectation. What a shame then, that ‘Ginger & Rosa’ is dampened by some ponderous, self-conscious scenes.
It’s 1962, the year the Stones played their first gig, but London is not quite swinging yet. Ginger is marching to ban the bomb. Her best friend, Rosa (Alice Englert), is busy snogging boys and cultivating an air of cool. Director Sally Potter strings together a series of brilliantly observed moments between the two girls. They sit in a bath of cold water shrinking their blue jeans and combing through comics for advice about boys. ‘Girls should have a bubbly personality,’ reads Rosa. ‘Do you think Simone de Beauvoir has a bubbly personality?’ asks Ginger.
Potter isn’t one of British film’s household names. She’s best-known for her film of Virginia Woolf’s novel ‘Orlando’ with Tilda Swinton. But she’s always been able to pull in a starry A-list cast. Christina Hendricks (‘Mad Men’) plays Ginger’s mum, and Annette Bening is a radical feminist. But ‘Ginger & Rosa’ belongs to its teen leads – their performances are more astonishing since neither is British (Fanning is American and Englert is Australian).
Problems between the two girls arise when Rosa sets her sights on Ginger’s writer dad, Roland – a complex performance from Alessandro Nivola. Roland lives by his own rules, ostentatiously ignoring convention. From a certain angle, in a particular light, he looks like a man who lives by his principles – imprisoned as a conscientious objector during World War II. But that same free-thinking principle also makes it okay to cheat on his wife with an underage girl.
All this makes ‘Ginger & Rosa’ an emotionally meaty film. But it’s let down by some earnest, patience-draining philosophising and poetry-reading.
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Ya know, this seems like it would be a good movie . . . at first. Reading about it was light stirking a match in the dark. But within minutes, just as a match, it went out. When will script writers and movie makers/producers realize WE THE PEOPLE are OVER political films. Come on, even Disney's Cars 2 was political. That is why it bombed. In addition ot being tired of gagging on political movies being shoved down our throats, we are less likely to pay to see a film that we can't enjoy with our ENTIRE family. If a movie is not "family friendly" I shant go! You shant have my dollars or my support. Last but not least, force feeding viewers the "couple" in the movie was not realitic to the period the movie was set. That was just in hopes to get more veiwers. FAIL!
No, thought the philosophising was absolutely crucial to the moral dillema of the film, at the end of the film (Were we meant to judge him? He said- when he hears the call of love, he just can't resist ir: he was a cosnientious objector... who went to prison, a bit smug, unreliable and arrogant maybe, but that's all... It ended in a mess, which is like life sometimes Thought the poetry added to it. The star was Elle Fanning, as we watched the not-yet-ready-for-the-adult-world adolescence slowly peel away from her very alive eyes... all a bit too soon for her...
Agree that Christina Hendricks was an odd casting choice - but it seems to be more a case of the accent taking up all of her energy. Elle Fanning was brilliant, and the story, though it started slowly, got more and more compelling as it went along, and I ended up enjoying it a lot more than I initially thought I would. Alessandro Nivola was great in a sleazy role, and Oliver Platt and Annette Bening lit things up whenever they appeared. Worth a watch I thought.
Obviously a very personal film but ruined by the weird casting ... Hendricks is bad... but the story felt believable and you cared for the central character and also it blessed with a cameo from the great benning seen worse
Pace was fine for me and a delight to watch Fanning as Ginger, no doubt destined for great things as she gets older. The story goes nowhere fast, some of the accents are a tad ropey and I don't think that tunnel was open when the film was set. That said, worth seeing as an inoculation against the likely to be frenetic Skyfall.
both girls v good indeed. But film SOOOOO slow. V staged performances by the grown ups. Enjoyed it but more pace/