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article imageReview: ‘Ginger & Rosa’ are best friends for now Special

By Sarah Gopaul     Mar 29, 2013 in Entertainment
‘Ginger & Rosa’ is about two teenage girls growing up in 1960s London under the shadow of the Cuban Missile Crisis as a critical decision redefines their relationship.
It's not unusual for people to drift apart. They mature, want different things or simply outgrow the other person. Actually cutting ties can be difficult, but sometimes it's better that way. In Ginger & Rosa, the teens cling to their friendship in spite of having fewer common interests and significant disagreements.
Best friends forever. For Ginger (Elle Fanning) and Rosa (Alice Englert) "forever" could have ended tomorrow as Ginger believes a nuclear holocaust was imminent during Cold War hostilities. Now 17 years old, the girls have been inseparable since birth. Determined to save the world, Ginger turns on the activist gene inherited from her father, Roland (Alessandro Nivola), joining demonstrations and writing protest poetry. Rosa is more interested in having fun and meeting boys, setting her sights on a forbidden fruit that will permanently alter her relationship with Ginger.
Rosa is the wild child and Ginger is the sensitive hippie. Had their friendship not been predestined by their mothers’ meeting, they may never have actually been friends. At the start of the film, they seem inseparable. When together, they alternate between playful children and thoughtful adults. But as the narrative continues, their differences become more apparent. Most of them could be overcome, but it’s obvious a not-so-innocent stare will mean disaster for their friendship.
It’s rare for a single character to inspire such deep hatred, but Rosa is a terribly selfish person. From the moment she decides to certainly jeopardize her relationship with Ginger, it becomes impossible to like her character. Furthermore, her partner in crime’s self-centred decision to hurt everyone around him means a second character in the film arouses an identical level of disgust. This, however, does not detract from the film experience; it makes it more engaging and easier to identify with Ginger.
Fanning delivers an outstanding performance. Ginger is constantly smiling, but it gradually becomes clear she’s masking deep-seated anxiety and desperately trying to make those around her happy. Her obsession with the end of the world is troubling as she buries herself in combating such a large issue. Englert appears unintentionally crafty. It’s difficult to determine if she’s insensitive on purpose or blinded by her love, which makes her performance intriguing.
The periphery characters are as interesting as the main characters. Ginger’s mother, played by Christina Hendricks, is atypically vulnerable and to some extent pitiable. Timothy Spall and Oliver Platt portray Ginger’s godfathers Mark and Mark Two. They’re a loving couple that show her support and encourage her political views. And Annette Bening is a feminist and activist that becomes a mentor for Ginger.
The major events in the film are foreshadowed within the story, but the characters often do not do as you’d predict (or hope). The excellent character-driven narrative is propelled by skillful performances that envelope the audience.
Director: Sally Potter
Starring: Elle Fanning, Alice Englert and Annette Bening
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