VOD film review: Ginger & Rosa
Ivan Radford | On 13, Jul 2013
Director: Sally Potter
Cast: Elle Fanning, Alice Englert, Christina Hendricks, Alessandro Nivola
Watch Ginger & Rosa online in the UK: Apple TV (iTunes) / Prime Video (Buy/Rent) / Google Play
“Our mothers are pathetic. They don’t believe in anything.”
That’s Rosa (Englert), best friend of Ginger (Fanning). Growing up in 1962, their coming-of-age combines with the Cuban Missile Crisis to create a melting pot of fear and hormones; increasingly aware of the world around them, as well as themselves, their innocence dives into a life-shattering tailspin.
For Ginger, her family is falling apart. Humankind will soon cease to exist. To make matters worse, the reason her parents are parting is because her dad, Roland (Nivola), is leaving her mum (Hendricks) for another woman: Rosa.
Who in their right mind would leave Christina Hendricks? For Roland, it’s just another notch on his list of social taboos to break. Alice Englert’s burgeoning sexuality, combined with a rebellious, mature streak, cements their horrifying relationship, one that cuts right through Ginger.
As our fragile lead, Elle Fanning is nothing short of fantastic. Aged only 13, she plays above her years with an uncanny believability, slowly falling into existential panic – a journey made even more realistic by Sally Potter’s perfectly detailed period sets and Robbie Ryan’s sumptuous, shadowy cinematography. Together, the two girls are wonderfully convincing, captivating and naive at the same time. Supported by an equally excellent supporting cast (Annette Bening and Timothy Spall), they create an intense portrait of youth faced with growing up too fast – one that, if you can stomach the odd bit of teen poetry, is incredibly moving.
“We were full of doubt and fear,” Ginger’s mum says, speaking about her childhood in World War II. “Bombs were falling all the time. Nothing was certain.”
Ginger coolly hits back: “What’s the difference?”
It’s a gob-smacking performance, one that climaxes in a devastating scene in which she hears Rosa and Roland having intercourse. This is how the world ends for Ginger & Rosa. Not with a bang – but with a whimper.