Just after the atomic bomb hits Hiroshima, Japan, Ginger (Fanning) and Rosa (Englert) are first introduced to each other when their mothers give birth side-by-side in a hospital room in London, England. 15 years later, the two girls are inseparable, playing innocent patty-cake games, kissing boys in alleys and binge drinking. But the dawn of the Cuban Missile Crisis interrupts their carefree years and forces them to join a youth rally to protest against nuclear disarmament. Amidst this new threat, Rosa crosses the boundaries of their friendship when when she recklessly pursues a romantic liaison with someone very close to Ginger. These trying events inevitably send both families in a tail-spin and culminate in an emotionally explosive and life-threatening climax.
Ginger and Rosa is a grand achievement for Potter, who crafts fully developed and empathetic characters -- not to mention a beautiful looking film. The interactions and dialogue between characters are authentic and engaging. Each frame of the film appears like an extraordinary still photo -- vibrant with colour and light.
Potter assembles an extraordinary and mostly American cast as her British protangonists. Fanning effortlessly carries the film, delivering an impressive performance as the often troubled Ginger, newcomer Alice Englert superbly holds her own as Rosa and Alessandro Nivola is a standout as Ginger's father. Moreover, the supportive cast, including Annette Benning and the incomparable Oliver Platt, often shine when onscreen. But it's Christina Hendricks who gives a breakout performance as Ginger's neglected and tormented mother. Much of the focus in Hendricks' career has been on her great beauty, however, its hopeful that this tremendous role gains her more credence as a serious actress.
A great measure of a film is how long its characters and story stay with you. It's two days later and I'm still charmed by Ginger and Rosa.
The entire cast appeared with Potter on stage and shared their deep appreciation and love for the experience of working with the respected director. Particularly, Fanning was moved to tears and had to catch her breath a few times before expressing how much she loved the film. Nivola remarked how Potter's eye for direction was meticulous. He confessed, "actors like to be looked at...Sally noticed I had long eyelashes and insisted they be curled before each take." Hendricks added that the cast developed a great bond and have agreed to reunite each year to perform the film's most powerful and gripping scene.
Evidently, the film continues to resonate with the cast as well.
[Writer/Directer Sally Potter]