UK 2012. Dir: Sally Potter. Scr: Sally Potter
When we sit down to watch a film by the intelligent, arch-stylist Sally Potter our expectations are high. And so, any disappointment we might feel has to be seen in the context of the highest standards. Set in 1962, the year of the Cuban Missile Crisis, it is the story of adolescent Ginger, a lover of logic, ideas and poetry, growing up with a philandering, academic father and long-suffering ex-artist mother, and the increasingly complex and divergent relationship she has with lifelong friend Rosa. Ginger is acutely sensitive to the existential terror of the risk of nuclear war, becoming more deeply involved as an activist, while Rosa becomes increasingly aware of her blossoming sexuality.
The film has a rather autobiographical feel and at its core is a sensitive exploration of the need for security, the importance of friendships outside the family for support and the many facets of female relationships, from love to betrayal. Elle Fanning, as Ginger, is outstanding as the determined, questioning but fragile Ginger. Both her enthusiasm and despair are infectious. But the film-making leaves us outside: some of the casting is strange – the mother is hardly believable and the accents are just plain wierd; the script is text-booky and unnatural, and; the events of the story are pretty dull, including the awkward “climax”.
Also by Sally Potter:
The Man Who Cried (2000)
The Tango Lesson (1997)