Many things will amaze you in the new movie Ginger & Rosa – the subject matter alone is pretty scandalous, considering it centers on the love affair between an adult man and his teenage daughter’s best friend. But mostly you will marvel at the truly astonishing performance put in by the young actress Elle Fanning who was only aged 13 at the time of filming. This is a movie that disturbs and enlightens in equally astonishing measure.
The story begins in August of 1945 when two infants are born in the same maternity ward of a London hospital. 17 years later the girls are fully grown and have blossomed into two formidable young women named Ginger (Elle Fanning) and Rosa (Alice Englert). Ginger is a more outspoken, activist type while Rosa is more focused on the internal struggle of her spirituality. When a romance erupts between Rosa and Ginger’s father Roland, the young women are challenged in ways that are both understandable and unexpected. How can you not, for example, be happy when your best friend finds true love? Even if the object of the love is your father. The struggle to find answers is writ large on the expressive face of Ms. Fanning.
The narrative starts out very strong (almost too strong, arguably) and then things begin to simmer down just as the story heats up. That may have been a deliberate move on the part of writer-director Sally Potter to keep things from getting too melodramatic, but it rings false in pivotal moments and only Fanning’s performance can hold the entire picture together at the end of the movie. This will likely prove to be the best breakout performance by a young actress since Jennifer Lawrence in Winter’s Bone.View All Photos ›