Review: Ginger and Rosa
13.10.2012 - Was the world really going to end?
To Ginger, that's all that mattered. Rosa didn't care as long as
she found everlasting love. This is the crux of Ginger and
Rosa, a film by Sally Potter starring Elle Fanning and Alice
Englert in the respective title roles.
The story follows the lives of two girls who are born on the
same day, children of best friends Natalie and Anoushka, and grow
up together, best friends themselves, in 1960s London, only to be
driven apart by crises both personal and political. The film starts
with a quick montage spanning the births of the two girls and the
turbulent time that is postwar Great Britain.
Ginger is a poet and an activist and everything her parents are
not. Natalie is a stay-at-home mother and her father Roland is an
outright Freudian who makes autonomous decisions but is in a way, a
wayward pacifist. Rosa goes to church, lives with her single mother
and has countless reasons to be reckless. Depictions of how these
two smoke their first cigarette, learn to kiss and chose their
respective paths in life is married beautifully with music from the
era. Add to that, Ginger's dark poetry about the end of the world
and Rosa's rising interest in Roland lead to a awkward feelings and
hints of betrayal.
The film transforms from a story of friendship into a profound
account of social conflict and nuclear paranoia, as Ginger is seen
at a sit-in with Bella (Annette Bening), a pseudo-matriarchal
figure and mouth-piece to Ginger's godfathers Mark and Mark
(Timothy Spall and Oliver Platt). As if that wasn't enough to turn
her world upside down, Rosa has just confessed to something that
will change Rosa's life forever.
What follows is a tumultuous revelation of Ginger's feelings,
especially in the one intense moment that critics have slated as
one of the strongest performances in the film. The use of close
ups, long periods of silence and grey landscapes that are
quintessentially British will rope in admirers of the Bohemian
scene. Ginger and Rosa is a beautifully made account
of growing up and growing apart.