gingerrosaForgiveness Is a Word On a Page


Ginger & Rosa
Stars: Elle Fanning, Alice Englert, Christina Hendricks, Alessandro Nivola, Oliver Platt, Annette Bening and Timothy Spall
Director/Scriptwriter: Sally Potter
Cinematography: Robbie Ryan
Music Supervisor: Amy Ashworth
Adventure Films
Rating: PG 13 for language and themed material
Running Length: 90 minutes
It’s Elle Fanning’s turn to begin a major motion picture and that she does as the cinnamon-haired Ginger in Sally Potter’s “Ginger & Rosa.” Elle is Dakota Fanning’s younger sister, while Alice Englert, who plays “Rosa,” is the daughter of film director Jane Campion. The young women portray two friends from childhood who are as close as sisters, but really don’t know each other at all. The story is set in England in the mid-1960’s when the Cuban Missile Crisis looms over everyone’s head, Peace Marches are everywhere, and the nuclear family is breaking apart. Quite an emotional situation for young girls.
We see Ginger and Rosa as childhood friends, holding hands on a swing set and giggling their way into adolescence. They hitch rides to Peace Rallies, try to shrink their jeans, iron their hair and almost do everything together. You always see Ginger first because of her red hair. It is Rosa, who seeks love in unexpected places, while Ginger is just that far behind.  She observes, but remains at a distance. They make a friend of Annette Bening, a doctor whom they meet at a Rally. Ginger’s parents, Christina Hendricks and Alessandro Nivola, are divorcing and Ginger seems in the way. Against this backdrop, are the news broadcasts of what would happen to Great Britain if there were a nuclear strike, which only inflames Ginger’s mind of destruction happening any minute now. Ginger is arrested at a Rally and it is then that certain truths come out to devastate this family as thoroughly as radiation. The Sixties were not always kind to people and forgiveness is sometimes only a word on a page.
“Ginger & Rosa” is beautifully photographed by Robbie Ryan, who sets scenes up with the golden lighting of an art gallery. Sally Potter directs everyone with a light touch, but shows force the last third of the movie. It is there that Fanning has her moments. Alice Englert (Rosa) is a good contrast to Fanning, but with her dark hair, you don't notice her at first when paired with Fanning. This enables Rosa to do what she wants to do quietly. Christina Hendricks as Ginger’s mother plays a woman going through an emotional divorce not knowing everything about her about-to-be-ex husband, Alessandro Nivola, who doesn't give the emotional support that Ginger needs. It is Timothy Spall, who steals his scenes, as the peacemaker who tries to find something positive everywhere. Spall, usually playing the comic in a scene, has a dramatic role here and he takes it with gusto. By the way, the piano arrangement of  “The Man I Love” at the end of the film is played by Christina Hendricks, and the entire soundtrack is a winner.
“Ginger & Rosa” shows you that within this family unit of the Sixties, news of nuclear warfare every day, everywhere, takes a toll on some people, while others discard it like lint on their clothes. The film begins slowly at first and picks up momentum at the half when teen romance comes into the picture. Like Eve taking that bite from the proverbial apple, nothing is ever the same afterward.
Copyright 2013 Marie Asner
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