Another day, another movie at the Sydney Film Festival. I started the day with Sally Potter's Ginger and Rosa, a coming of age story set in 1962 London. Ginger (Elle Fanning) and Rosa (Alice Englert) are life long friends who were born on the same day as the atom bomb dropped on Hiroshima in 1945. The looming threat of nuclear annihilation is part of the political and social background of the two friends entering adulthood, with the Cuban missile crisis and anti-nuclear bomb marches providing plot markers along the way. But the film is ultimately about Ginger learning to think for herself. As she rejects a life of frustrated domesticity lived by her mother, Nat (Christina Hendricks), is isolated from Rosa as they start to explore their burgeoning adulthood in different ways, and begins to see that her anarchist father, Roland (Alessandro Nivola), has feet of clay.
Sally Potter is a great director and she has some tremendous performances from her cast that also include Annette Benning, Timothy Spall, Oliver Platt and Johdi May. However, I was a little disappointed that she chose quite a well trodden story. There is nothing new about the film, except for a lovely showcase for Elle Fanning and introducing Alice Englert to the world. I feel as it is an opportunity missed. There are not many films that have female central characters, but most of them I am sure are coming of age stories starring young up and coming actresses. Wouldn't it have been nice if we had a film where the central character was female and over 35 years old? The stories behind Christina Hendrick's character or Jodhi May's character may have been something to watch. Both were intriguing but not given enough to do. A waste of talent.