Ginger & Rosa
Summer 2013 Features series
Sunday, June 23, 2013 at 8:00pm
Directed by Sally Potter
Screenplay by Sally Potter
Starring Elle Fanning , Alice Englert, and Oliver Platt
Rated 14A ·
UK / Denmark / Canada / Croatia
Ginger & Rosa
Directed by Sally Potter (Orlando), this film is set in 1962 London where two teenage girls — Ginger and Rosa — are inseparable. They skip school together, talk about love, religion and politics and dream of lives bigger than their mothers’ domesticity. But the growing threat of nuclear war casts a shadow over their lives.
Ginger (Elle Fanning) is drawn to poetry and protest, while Rosa (Alice Englert) shows Ginger how to smoke cigarettes, kiss boys and pray. Both rebel against their mothers: Rosa’s single mum, Anoushka (Jodhi May), and Ginger’s frustrated painter mother, Natalie (Christina Hendricks). Meanwhile, Ginger’s pacifist father, Roland (Alessandro Nivola) seems a romantic, bohemian figure to the girls. He encourages Ginger’s Ban-the-Bomb activism, while Rosa starts to take a very different interest in him.
As Ginger’s parents fight and fall apart, Ginger finds emotional sanctuary with a gay couple, both named Mark (Timothy Spall and Oliver Platt), and their American friend, the poet Bella (Annette Bening, The Kids Are All Right). Finally, as the Cuban Missile Crisis escalates — and it seems the world itself may come to an end — the lifelong friendship of the two girls is shattered. Ginger clutches at one hope; if she can help save the world from extinction, perhaps she too will survive this moment of personal devastation.
“The 1960s continue to prove an endless source of inspiration for filmmakers. The dominant mode of these films is very often nostalgic, tinged with a hint of rueful hand-wringing as their makers look back on the failed promise of the decade. With Ginger & Rosa, Sally Potter manages to avoid nearly every pratfall of such period pieces, focusing on extreme alienation rather than enlightenment, and wringing a powerful and jaundiced coming-of-age story from the decade’s less trod corners. In Potter’s vision, the ’60s aren’t about illumination, but fear. Significantly setting her film in the early part of the decade, in 1962, Potter brings her intentionally narrowed and elliptical focus to a teenage girl’s search for identity in the face of familial discontent and the ever-looming presence of the Bomb.” (Andrew Schenker, Slant Magazine)
“There are big emotions at work in Ginger & Rosa, and the performances are exceptional. Elle Fanning, as Ginger, not only sounds English, but her whole manner is suffused with Englishness, so that at moments she seems like a young Judi Dench. She and Hendricks, as her mother, go to some bleak and wrenching places … and return with the best work of their lives.” (Mick LaSalle, The San Francisco Chronicle)
“Ginger & Rosa is about adolescence as a state of absolute idealism and absolute self-absorption — a time when there’s no difference between the world’s calamities and one’s own. In Fanning, Potter has found the perfect vessel, and the miracle is that the actress doesn’t even seem to be trying. She just is.” (Ty Burr, Boston Globe)