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    September 15, 2013

    MOVIE REVIEW: GINGER & ROSA

    This British coming-out-of-age drama emphasizes on the humanism aspect with exploration of universal friendship, sexual awakening and the paranoia of the impending nuclear holocaust among other. From the filmmaker of “Rage”, Sally Potter once again brings a novel concept to the indie audiences with "Ginger & Rosa", a tale about two inseparable friends since the day they were born and their eventual encounters at different paths of life. Ginger (Ella Fanning) aspires to become a poet but is struggling to cope with her deteriorating domestic issues with her mother (Christina Hendricks). Just like her father Roland (Alessandro Nivola), Ginger believes in mind autonomy and quickly drawn to the idea of promoting nuclear disarmament with the blessing of her godfathers (Timothy Spall and Oliver Platt). Rosa (Alice Englert) on the other hand, believes in the idea of everlasting love, more rebellious but also more introverts about the idea of real world. As they struggle to find the meaning of adulthood, their friendship is put to strain by a series of events that occur against the backdrop of rising Cold War tension and sexual revolution.



    Genre: Drama
    Classification: Unrated
    Release Date: Indie presentation
    Running Time: 90 minutes
    Distributor: A24
    Director: Sally Potter
    Screenplay: Sally Potter
    Starring: Elle Fanning, Alice Englert, Alessandro Nivola, Christina Hendricks, Annette Bening

    Plot: London, 1962. Two teenage girls - GINGER & ROSA - are inseparable. They skip school together, talk about love, religion and politics and dream of lives bigger than their mothers' domesticity. But the growing threat of nuclear war casts a shadow over their lives. Ginger (Elle Fanning) is drawn to poetry and protest, while Rosa (Alice Englert) shows Ginger how to smoke cigarettes, kiss boys and pray. Both rebel against their mothers: Rosa's single mum, Anoushka (Jodhi May), and Ginger's frustrated painter mother, Natalie (Christina Hendricks). Meanwhile, Ginger's pacifist father, Roland (Alessandro Nivola) seems a romantic, bohemian figure to the girls. He encourages Ginger's 'Ban-the-Bomb' activism, while Rosa starts to take a very different interest in him. As Ginger's parents fight and fall apart, Ginger finds emotional sanctuary with a gay couple, both named Mark (Timothy Spall and Oliver Platt), and their American friend, the poet Bella (Annette Bening). Finally, as the Cuban Missile Crisis escalates - and it seems the world itself may come to an end - the lifelong friendship of the two girls is shattered. Ginger clutches at one hope; if she can help save the world from extinction, perhaps she too will survive this moment of personal devastation.
    “Ginger & Rosa” is painted with the setting of 1960s, hipster before hipster, growing up in London and the Cuban missile crisis. There is a certain degree of shakiness on Potter's script particularly at the beginning. The opening first act of roughly 30 minutes is sketchy, slow and indecisively all over the place on the ultimate direction it supposed to head for. But as the plot moves on, it eventually finds itself commandeering, cerebral and truly immersive with plenty of character studies. But most people would probably lose somewhere as the movie continues to pound in heavy plotting and subject matter for audiences to grasp. Once the plot settles on the second act, we see a nicely-done plot which comprises of well-structured and amazing mixes of artistry through innocent poems and absorbing dialogues which tackle on the complexity of nuclear war, of growing up, of becoming sexually awakening and of idealism, nicely. But it also come a little awkward at the end when the final confrontation proves to be too convoluted to handle and alienating the things we believed and hold on to earlier on.

    Even if the story is quite strong but otherwise unpolished on some of the areas, “Ginger & Rosa” marks the career-defining performance for Elle Fanning, whose portrayal as Ginger comes with an absolute commandeering by pitching and blending into the story so well. Elle has already won me with her simple yet emotional performances in “Super 8” and “We Bought a Zoo”. Her exceptional raw emotional and maturity amplify her character into a good representation for one side of the story. On the other side, Alice Englert is also not disappointing on her career breakaway as her performance accurately nails on as a troubled young woman who finds herself in problems adapting to the newly adulthood life, a perfect contrary of Ginger. As it is, “Ginger & Rosa” seems to benefit more from the performances of the two lead actresses than its story.

    In the end, Ginger & Rosa is a small but uneventful, slowly built but ideally absorbing, thoughtful scripted yet unpolished indie movie that makes use of the heavy themes against the backdrop of 1960s rather brilliantly into well-defined activism messages and the career-defining performance for Elle Fanning.

    If you are unsure about "Ginger & Rosa", watch the full length trailer here:



    MY RATING:
    Story: 3.5
    Casts: 4.5
    Cinematography: 3.0
    Effects: 3.0
    GREEN-TEA-O-METER: 15.2/20.0
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