As the ampersand between their names indicates, "Ginger & Rosa" are inseparable, pals since birth, best friends for as long as anyone can remember. At least until now.
It's 1962 in London, and 17-year-old old Rosa worries about finding true love, "the kind that lasts forever." Ginger, however, has other, weightier concerns. "If there is a forever," is her response, with a big emphasis on the "if."
An empathetic and aware film, "Ginger & Rosa" is several striking things all at once. It's an adult look at the teenage years, an examination of how personal emotions inform political action, a noteworthy change of pace for writer-director
The younger sister of
Fanning's work is so impressive, it makes what weaknesses "Ginger & Rosa" has seem unimportant. She's reason enough to see the film all by herself.
"Ginger & Rosa" starts with newsreel footage of the atomic bomb blast and resulting devastation at Hiroshima that overshadows the entire story. Then we see the two girls born in adjoining hospital beds and watch as their mothers' lives take different turns. Anoushka (
Meanwhile, the inseparable Ginger and Rosa do classic teenage things together like flirt with boys, argue with their parents and iron their hair to straighten it. United by wonderful complicit looks, they are essentially trying out adult moves for size, figuring out the shape of their lives.
But while Rosa becomes obsessed with the opposite sex, Ginger gets increasingly serious, reading T.S. Eliot and Simone de Beauvoir and worrying that "we could all die tomorrow." She starts to attend ban-the-bomb meetings and takes part in mass rallies held by the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament.
These five central characters are all sharply written and well-acted, but the film's peripheral characters don't fare as well. Anoushka's two gay friends, Mark (