“Ginger & Rosa” Review: A Coming-of-Age Story That Never Comes of Age


By Wesley Emblidge

Elle Fanning and Alice Englert in "Ginger & Rosa"

Coming-of-age stories are, by definition self-indulgent. Filmmakers generally take material from their own lives, essentially saying, “look how interesting I am!” Most of the time that’s easy to forgive because we’re interested, we like the characters, and we care about what’s happening. Sally Potter’s “Ginger & Rosa” has absolutely none of those, and is just a tedious, self-gratifying film, saved only by a great cast.

It’s 1962 in London, and the threat of the Cuban missile crisis has cast a shadow over daily life. Best friends Ginger (Elle Fanning, “Super 8,” “We Bought a Zoo”) and Rosa (Alice Englert, “Beautiful Creatures”) live aimlessly, ditching school to protest or hitchhike around the city. Ginger clashes with her mom (Christina Hendricks, “Mad Men”) and ends up joining a group of protesters against the bomb.

Fanning is good, as she always is, but not enough to make a really unpleasant character someone we can support, or even be remotely interested in. The longer the film goes on (and it’s only 90 minutes) the more tiresome her antics get, and it’d just be better for her to go home. It’s a coming of age story in which she never really comes of age. Instead, she fights with friends and family and complains about how screwed up the world is.

If you see the movie for anything it should be the cast. This film is full of short roles for people like Annette Bening and Timothy Spall, but even they can’t make up for the messy, unengaging story. “Ginger & Rosa” probably could have been interesting if anything felt like it mattered, but it never really clicks, pretending its political statements make it important.


2/5 Stars