Elle Fanning, Alice Englert, Annette Bening, Christina Hendricks, Alessandro Nivola, Timothy Spall and Oliver Platt. Written and directed by Sally Potter
Following two inseparable best friends, Ginger & Rosa shares a name with its title characters. Focusing on two teenage girls who've been friends since birth, Ginger & Rosa is every bit as melodramatic as two sixteen year old girls can get. And although, like in most independent films, there's plenty of morose staring, angsty scowling and tormented weeping, the heart of this film is actually quite good. Set in London in the mid-1960s, the film begins as Ginger (Fanning) and Rosa (Englert) become increasingly involved in the political struggle against Cuba during the Missile Crisis. Though Rosa's dad left when she the girls were very little, Ginger's philosophical father has stuck around. And although both girls and their families are about one missed check away from the poor house, Ginger's father manages to own a small boat where it soon becomes apparent that he romances young blondes. Rife with realistic family crises, Ginger & Rosa's writer and director, Sally Potter, at least manages to build a believable world for our characters to live in.
Aesthetically enthralling and wonderfully acted, it's in Ginger & Rosa's plot that the movie fails. Wholly transparent, it seems like we know from the start where the conclusion will take us and there's just a lot of time and blubbering keeping us from finding out we were exactly right. Fanning, however, is rather captivating as the movie's lead and we believe every emotion she's been directed to convey. In fact, it's the acting in Ginger & Rosa that truly saves it from being another quietly dismal display of direction. With a supporting cast, which includes a far underutilized Annette Bening, Christina Hendricks, Timothy Spall and Oliver Pratt, it's clear director Sally Potter is more adept at being behind the camera than trying to create a script. Flimsy, slow and boring, the climax of Ginger & Rosa seems to appear far too soon, leaving the rest of the film drags on for far too long.