Every teenager has felt like the world’s going to end at some point. The trick in Ginger & Rosa is that the end of the world is a very real possibility – it’s 1962, and as the Cold War clamps its icy grip around the world, a nuclear holocaust seems to be edging over the horizon.
Scared and confused, teens Ginger (Elle Fanning) and Rosa (Alice Englert) attend anti-bomb rallies; which is nothing compared to the bomb that’s dropped when Rosa reveals she’s started sleeping with Ginger’s dad (Alessandro Nivola).
Metaphors run rampant in Ginger & Rosa, threatening to tip the film into all-out absurdity on numerous occasions. An intriguing, hit-and-miss, coming-of-age period drama, director Sally Potter’s film isn’t big on subtlety where the script’s concerned.
Luckily, it’s evident in spades in G&R’s spectacular collection of performances, with Fanning and Mad Men star Christina Hendricks (as her mother) delivering commendably tremulous turns. Both are American, but both wrap their tongues around a decent middle-English accent, and it’s through their wrought mother-daughter relationship that G&R really lives and breathes.
The same can’t be said of the teenage angst that G&R frequently falls back on. It’s been done better a hundred times over in other films, and it’s only Fanning’s formidable talent that keeps her character interesting despite the recurrent strop-throwing and fall-outs.
Sporting an eye-catching crop of red hair, Fanning’s the main reason you should seek out what is essentially a flimsy teen drama lifted by a fantastic cast. See it for Fanning, marvel at what a fantastic young actress she’s turning into, then hope she finds better material in the future. 3/5