Novels tend to use historic moments as the framing backdrop for intimate relationships, weaving factual strands with personal threads to remind us of the interconnectedness of experience. Ginger (Elle Fanning) and Rosa (Alice Englert), best friends growing up in the wake of the Cuban Missile Crisis in London, navigate this tricky time, laced with fear of nuclear annihilation and precarious family dynamics like characters in, for instance, a Joyce Carol Oates novel, due to the intuitive feel of writer-director Sally Potter, known for adapting Virginia Woolf’s Orlando as well as her willingness to jump headlong in front of the camera (The Tango Lesson). There is a sense of fearlessness in her work that bravely stares down any and all challenges, personal or cultural, and so it is with Ginger & Rosa. Working closely with Englert and Fanning (an emerging radiant talent), Potter is able to draw such fine interior lines in this portrait of late adolescence on the cusp of blossoming womanhood.
Now open at Mariemont Theatre. (PG-13) Grade: B+