Ginger and Rosa is an intimate look at the lives of two teenage girls as they grow up in 1960's London during a time when it seemed like the world could end at any moment. Elle Fanning and newcomer Alice Englert bring these characters to life as directed by Sally Potter.
When it comes to best friends, you would be hard pressed to find two that are more inseparable than Ginger and Rosa. Filled with dreams of changing the world while at the same time trying to figure out who they are as emerging young women, the pair begins to see the world in slightly different ways. Affected by broken homes, the girls share both a bond and a divide created by the unconventional family environments they have each been subjected to while growing up.
As Ginger follows the path of her step father's politically charged ideals and activist ways, Rosa begins to discover that she prefers love's emotional pull to the turmoil of protesting the world's impending doom. When she ends up finding an unlikely resource to satisfy her yearning, the inevitable result may tear apart a friendship that has held together as the world prepares to fall apart.
For me, this turned out to be a very curious movie that I wish had gone a different direction than it ended up going. Without going into too much of the story's third act and conclusion, I would have loved to have seen the political side of the equation fleshed out and explored much more than it was. Just when it seemed like the girls were heading towards a fulfilling if not dangerous path of active leadership, the brakes get put on and the audience is given more of a soap opera plot line to deal with as the hallmark of what defines the girls' transition into adulthood.
There were times during the movie I felt like it was crawling along at a pace so methodically drawn out that I began to become distracted to the point of even considering how much longer I could stay awake. What kept me going was some seriously brilliant dialog that was punctuated even more by very strong acting performances by the entire cast.
Fanning is a delight to watch on screen and although her character is thrown through a proverbial roller coaster of emotions, you feel like Ginger is only getting stronger with each new dilemma. Alessandro Nivola and Christina Hendricks are also impressive as Ginger's parents and Timothy Spall, Oliver Platt, and Annette Bening are all highlights as they play family friends and catalysts for Ginger's growth in to activism.
I'm still not sure if I actually liked this movie or not as it was both painful to sit through and captivatingly beautiful in its exploration of character and how their lives were impacted by both internal and external forces, all of which were beyond their control. While the story as a whole may not be its ultimate strong point, Ginger and Rosa is at least worth your time for the quality of acting that is on display throughout.