Writer/director Sally Potter’s poignant semi-autobiography Ginger & Rosa comes out on DVD today. Elle Fanning flawlessly leads a wonderful cast through the crises of adolescence, terrible parenting, and Cuban missiles. Her exceptional talent appears almost effortless, and her vulnerability in this role is heartbreaking. If we’re taking bets on the next Meryl Streep, the smartest money may just be on Fanning.
For more proof, have a look at Somewhere, writer/director Sofia Coppola’s tale of a spoiled movie star (Stephen Dorff) getting a surprise visit from his estranged daughter (Fanning). It is a sparse film, as Coppola returns to the detached style she showcased so beautifully with Lost in Translation. Though you may wonder where it’s headed, stick with it. Coppola has crafted a beautiful mediation on the value of being needed, and it might one day be remembered as the watershed film of a legendary actress.
These days, there is an incredibly gifted group of young actors working in film – particularly young female actors. Ginger & Rosa provides further proof that Elle Fanning belongs near the very top of this talented club.
At just fourteen years old (fifteen on April 9th), Fanning displays an astonishing level of emotional maturity, able to craft a window to her character’s soul, often without a single word. At this point, it is hard to imagine a limit to her potential.
In Ginger & Rosa, Fanning’s is just one of several strong performances in writer/director Sally Potter’s semi-autobiographical tale of a young girl battling fears of nuclear annihilation, and a growing crisis in her own family.
Set in 1960s London, the film shows Ginger (Fanning) and her best friend Rosa (Alice Englert) as nearly inseparable, testing parental boundaries and pondering their futures. Ginger, though, can’t shake her fears of nuclear war, and she grows increasingly anxious as the Cuban missile crisis permeates the headlines.
When Ginger’s parents (Christina Hendricks and Alessandro Nivola, both stellar) separate, Ginger bounces between them as a situation arises that threatens both her family and her friendship with Rosa.
Potter displays a nuanced touch as she gently juxtaposes a coming of age story with the social, political and sexual upheaval of the time. Her film has an artful quality, as it makes quiet but powerful points on the effects of feeling helpless – in the world and right at home.