“Good thing you didn’t go to the movie last night. It was sooo boring! U would have definitely fallen asleep.” That’s the text I sent to a friend who luckily escaped seeing Ginger & Rosa, which manages to make both teen angst and the Cuban Missile Crisis mind-numbingly dull.

The movie is beautifully shot and there are slow, gorgeous close-up shots of the characters and their surroundings while not much of interest occurs. The entire movie is a series of snapshots that together don’t quite make a whole and certainly not a story that is in any way gripping or intriguing. That is essentially because the characters are never developed.

Elle Fanning fares the best. That’s because her character Ginger is the only one that’s even remotely fleshed out and Fanning has an abundance of charisma and screen presence. She perfectly captures that contradictory mix of insecurity and arrogance of teens in the midst of discovering new ideas and testing their independence. If it were not for Fanning this movie would be unbearable but even she with all her talent cannot work miracles as evidenced by a couple who did walk out in the middle of the film.

The rest of the cast is left to fend for themselves and the script does them no favors. It is to their credit that they all turn in excellent performances despite the thinness of the characters. Rosa’s (Alice Englert) character is like a Polaroid picture that never fully materializes unless you consider depicting someone as consistently angry at their mother as character development. Natalie (Christina Hendricks) Ginger’s mother is left unexplored except for the surface acknowledgment of her desire to paint and play music.  Alessandro Nivola, one of those actors who blends into whatever role he’s playing, is Ginger’s immature father Roland who likes to spout ideals but avoid responsibility.

These are all characters and themes we’ve seen before much more fully formed and to better effect in other films. Except for Elle Fanning there isn’t anything unique, compelling or memorable to make it worth your while to spend time in the world of Ginger & Rosa.

 

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