Ginger and Rosa (2013): Sally Potter’s Coming of Age Starring the Stunning Elle Fanning

A coming-of-age tale, Ginger and Rosa, written and directed by Sally Potter, is her most conventional film to date, elevated a notch or two by the charismatic screen presence of Elle Fanning (Dakota’s younger, more beautiful sister).

Premiering at the 2012 New York Film Fest, Ginger and Rosa divided critics and was a commercial flop when released by A24 a year later.

Set in London, in 1962, as the title indicates, it’s the story of two teenage girls who are inseparable. They skip school together, talk about love, religion and politics and dream of lives bigger than their mothers’ domesticity.

Social context is crucial to this saga: The growing threat of nuclear war casts a shadow over their lives, which take different paths, threatening their intimate bond.

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 more personal and romantic 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).

As the Cuban Missile Crisis escalates, and the world is on the verge of demise, 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.

MPAA: PG-13.

Running time: 89 minutes.

Directed and written by Sally Potter.

Written By: Sally Potter

Released: March 15, 2013

DVD: Jul 23, 2013