Saturday, 8 September 2012

Can a family survive the story of Ginger and Rosa?

Family, it can be a bit of a strange thing to deal with. On the one hand they can be the best people to turn to when life gets you down sometimes. That blood relationship is a powerful one and it can be a great comfort in times of horrible stress. However I don’t think anyone would disagree with me if I said that they can also be the source of that stress at times as well. For Ginger and Rosa, family is something of a combination of both in their lives. Against the backdrop of 1960s London England, they don’t have the most traditional kind of family, or at least not by any standards that would have come before such a time in society. Nowadays this type of family dynamic is somewhat common place and as a result there are quite a number of parallels and metaphors to be drawn about today’s world through this look into the past of any uncertain family.
Ultimately, the film is focused on the story of our main characters, Ginger and Rosa. Two young girls who grow up almost like sisters. After all, the film begins with the birth of these girls. Their mothers (played brilliantly by Christina Hendricks and Jodhi May respectively) lying together in the same room as they seem to be in labor at the same time, friends seemingly united against all the odds in a world that is rapidly changing after the devastation and pain of the Second World War. It seems only natural then, that their daughters (played by the young and incredibly talented Elle Fanning and Alice Englert) would grow up united by a common truth and a common pain that through the 1960s, a time of turbulence and upheaval, at least they have each other
Or do they? Sisterhood is not without its difficulties. Particularly as you grow up and you experience new things, the bonds which held you through your childhood become harder to hold onto. These are the types of things that Ginger and Rosa struggle to figure out as time goes by in the film, and this of course is set against the struggles of a world in which the very real truth of ultimate annihilation by nuclear destruction becomes a true possibility. It’s a difficult thing to watch, not because there’s anything in the film that’s particularly gruesome or violent, but because you can see the cracks start to form in these relationships as the story moves along and part of you wishes that you could do something to stop it.
In today’s modern world, these cracks in our family are something that all of us have had to deal with at some point or another. What’s interesting is that, much like Ginger and Rosa and their families, it’s often much easier to see the cracks in someone else when you’re not involved then it is to see your own. As the audience we understand what it is that they are facing and how they could stop it if they only tried to deal with their problems, but in the 1960s it was harder to do that. For all the talk of that time and the repeated insistence of freedom and personal conviction, these guiding principles can also be the thing that tears Ginger and Rosa’s families apart.
Can a family survive the story of Ginger and Rosa? You’ll have to buy a ticket and see, but I have no doubt it will be worth it.