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Film Review: GINGER & ROSA

Written and Directed by Sally Potter
Starring: Elle Fanning, Alice Englert, Alessandro Nivola, Christina Hendricks,
Timothy Spall, Annette Benning, Oliver Platt

It you weren’t of a certain age (in my case fourteen) in 1962, it is hard to convey just how frightening the events going on between the U.S., the U.S.S. R. and Cuba were. I remember huddling in front of our school lockers and listening to reports on someone’s transistor radio, certain we had lived our last days.

It was scary in England too apparently, which is where GINGER AND ROSA takes place. The two girls have had their consciousness raised by the rather left-wing family Ginger was born into but also by the events swirling around them.

Early scenes of their girlishness and closeness (shared cigarettes, ironing each other’s hair) soon gives way to an almost fanatical awareness of the threat to life, especially for Ginger. She joins the BAN THE BOMB movement and marches in parades. Rosa (Englert), on the other hand, discovers boys and then men.

Potter does a great job of capturing this difficult time. Difficult in its politics and difficult in the girls’ fits and starts toward growing up and perhaps apart. Elle Fanning, only fifteen and playing seventeen here, could not be better in this role. And Nivola is especially strong (playing weak). This is a small movie but a pretty good one. Hollywood certainly has its share of great young actresses at the moment. Where are the boys?