Based on her previous contribution to feminist cinema, it comes as no surprise that Sally Potter’s latest film delivers a female coming-of-age tale that is deeply personal and deeply political. Ginger & Rosa, which was released in 2012, failed to achieve the kind of attention a film of its caliber deserves. A striking indictment of masculinity, male entitlement, and a treatise on the varying motivations behind political action, Ginger & Rosa tells much more than the story of its two teen protagonists’ ascension to adulthood. The two father figures in the film, one present, one not, frame the story, embodying the Western notion of the “patriarch.” Potter invites us to examine the power of the father figure, the complex relationship women have with the men in their lives, that the power of the father figure is not always evil, but it is always present.
Set in 1962, in the flurry following the bombing of Hiroshima, the film features Ginger (Elle Fanning), a young woman who’s swept up in the Ban the Bomb movement, dragging her best friend Rosa (Alice Englert) along with her. The two, who were born on the same day in the same hospital, embark on what begins as a sweet and intimate friendship. They share baths, cigarettes, dating tips, and straightening irons. The gulf between them is slowly revealed as Ginger becomes more enmeshed in protest movements and Rosa shows herself to be more preoccupied with boys. Continue reading