Sally Potter’s latest film, Ginger & Rosa, is beautiful from the first moment to the last. The protagonist, Ginger, played expertly by Elle Fanning (the comparisons to Meryl Streep are not an exaggeration), is a teenage poet living in 1962 London. She is deeply frightened by the threat of nuclear catastrophe, and this, combined with more personal tensions, creates a taught wire for the movie to walk across. The writing and images both soar and glide gracefully through the story, weaving in and out of darkness and light.
Do you remember being 13, 14, 15-years-old and feeling so afraid of something that none of the adults around you seemed to take seriously? Have you ever had a secret you held inside so that it hurt and rumbled like a bomb? That yearning to be both free and protected? I remember these feelings, and I remember being a teenage girl and all this comes out in Elle Fanning’s performance. From her brooding eyes which seem to go deep inside herself, to her exquisite laugh which is so bubbly and joyful, even squeaky– she creates a rich character who owns the screen.
The rest of the cast is excellent as well: Alessandro Nivola, Christina Hendricks, Timothy Spall, Oliver Pratt, Annette Bening. Fanning and co-star Alice Englert (who plays Rosa) create that “girl-bond-world” which is so intense and consuming, and entrancing to watch– especially in their matching turtle-neck sweaters and long ironed hair. Sally Potter beautifully captures this girl friend relationship, in all it’s intricacies and explosiveness.
I found the following in the Personal Quotes section of Sally Potter’s IMDb page:
“[on the advent of many films exploring young female relationships] The sleeping giant awakes. It’s like people are suddenly seeing the power, the interior life that has come out of this great cultural silence. The stories haven’t been told, but it’s not as if they weren’t there to be told.”
This feels true to me– that we are finally seeing more stories about women in general, but also female relationships (more than just women friends talking about men), and I’m excited to see this giant awaken.
The only other films in Sally Potter’s ouvre that I have seen are Rage, Yes, and Orlando, and I would say that I like Ginger & Rosa the best. There’s something so complete about it– like when a poem has just the right amount of words or a dress fits just so.
Ginger & Rosa is playing at Images Cinema Friday 4/12 – Thursday 4/18. Visit our website for details and showtimes: http://www.imagescinema.org