Friday, March 29, 2013

Ginger & Rosa

Sally Potter's phony-baloney "Ginger & Rosa," about two best friends in London in 1962 - nuclear weapon protestor Ginger (Elle Fanning, impossible to turn away from even here) and boy-crazy Rosa (nondescript Alice Englert) - never feels like anything but a director's construct.
It's the sort of movie in which Ginger's gay godfathers (Timothy Spall and Oliver Platt!) are named Mark and Mark Two, and Annette Bening as fellow activist Bella gets lines such as, "I understand you're a militant like me. That's good." Fanning - stunningly good opposite Stephen Dorff in Sofia Coppola's beautiful "Somewhere" - manages to extract a few moments of genuine emotion even within Potter's constraints, but she's the only thing worth watching. Little happens in the first 80 minutes - most scenes end with someone "putting a kettle on" - and in the last 20 minutes Potter piles indignities and cruelties upon Ginger and her beaten-down mother (Christina Hendricks). Her father, Roland (strong and sexy Alessandro Nivola), delivers an Ayn Rand monologue justifying his vile behavior, then apologizes for it in the last scene, while Fanning, in voice over, reads a poem (bearing no relation to what she's fake-writing) of which I couldn't remember one line if my life depended on it.

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