Just a quick reminder that My Thoughts On… posts may contain spoilers, so if you haven’t seen the film in question, please skip down to the section titled Why Should You See This Film? where you will find no spoilers!
A look at the lives of two teenage girls – inseparable friends Ginger and Rosa — growing up in 1960s London as the Cuban Missile Crisis looms, and the pivotal event the comes to redefine their relationship. (via IMDb)
What I Liked
- When I came across this film on Netflix, I knew very little about it, except that Elle Fanning was starring in it, and had received very good reviews. I’m a big fan of coming-of-age tales, especially when they involve teenage girls, and the fact that it was set in 1960s London was another mark in its favour. I really enjoyed the story of two teenage girls rebelling and learning to deal with their parents’ irresponsible behaviour, and worrying about the threat of nuclear war. I know that Sally Potter’s films have divided people in the past, but this is the first of her films that I’ve seen, and so I think I’ll check out her previous ones.
- Elle Fanning is a marvel. She was thirteen when she made this film, playing a seventeen-year-old Ginger, and she is just amazing. I’ve only ever seen her in guest roles on American television, and I had no idea she was so talented (I’ve been meaning to watch Super 8 since it was at the cinema). She plays Ginger with such heart-breaking honesty, and I whole-heartedly believed in her pain, confusion and bewilderment. When she cries, whether it’s one tear trickling down her face, or her sobs at the end of the film, it’s as good as any adult actor I’ve ever seen. Her English accent was almost completely flawless, too.
- Ginger’s best friend Rosa is played by Alice Englert, and she also does a very good job. We tend to see the events of the film through Ginger’s eyes, not explicitly, but it’s definitely what is suggested. Rosa is elevated in Ginger’s eyes, it’s clear that she idolises her, so when she betrays her, Ginger is completely devastated. We don’t get to see things from Rosa’s perspective, though I’m fairly sure that it would have been hard to sympathise with her even if we had. She’s beautiful though, and does a great job at showing that she knows that she has done something wrong, but being selfish enough not to want to stop doing it.
- Timothy Spall, Oliver Platt and Annette Bening have very small parts to play, but they do so with aplomb. Timothy Spall, in particular, is great, and I’d love to have him as my godfather. And Oliver Platt pops up in everything, and I just adore him. I find him so funny, no matter what’s he’s doing.
- Obviously I didn’t live through the 1960s, but this felt authentic to me. It isn’t bright and shiny with The Beatles and Carnaby Street. It’s bohemian and slightly run down and worn, and it looked great.
What I Didn’t Like
- I didn’t completely buy Christina Hendrick’s performance as Ginger’s mother, Natalie. Her accent wasn’t quite right, in my opinion, and it was hard to sympathise with her. It’s entirely possible that, as we are essentially seeing her through Ginger’s eyes, we don’t get to empathise with her because Ginger chooses to demonise her in favour of hero-worshipping her father, so maybe it’s not Christina’s Hendrick’s fault. Her accent is, but maybe my lack of empathy with her character is intended.
Why Should You See This Film?
The main reason for me to suggest this film to you is to see Elle Fanning put in the performance of her albeit short career. She was only thirteen when she made this film, and she’ll blow you away with her performance of a girl trying to come to terms with various things happening in her life. She plays heartbroken betrayal so well, and her the crumbling of her relationship with her best friend is the crux of the film, giving both her and Alice Englert, who plays Rosa, a lot to do. It’s on Netflix, so if you have a subscription, I’d definitely recommend checking it out.