The title characters are more girlish than womanly: frizzy-haired libertines swanning around 1962 London in matching sweaters and matching political outrage (until, as in Ghost World, it doesn’t match). Fiery Ginger, embodied by the ever-promising Elle Fanning, stokes her own fears of nuclear annihilation; boys are drawn to her intensity, but she hardly notices them. Rosa (Alice Englert, daughter of the director Jane Campion and possessed of Piano-worthy steeliness) is Ginger’s soulmate, until the darker-haired beauty begins to take in the wider world. It might just be a question of hormones.
Sally Potter’s beautifully rendered period piece hinges on a delicate reveal that echoes Ginger’s sense of impending apocalypse—to disclose it here would be to prejudice you against some equally fine work by the supporting cast. Vaguely, then: Ginger’s mother and father (an expertly wounded Christina Hendricks and the underrated Alessandro Nivola) are splitting up. He’s a professor and writer who prides himself on having no boundaries. The most heart-wrenching thing about the film is watching Fanning’s transformation from idealist to wreck, the father’s free-thinking daughter turned into the mother’s double in the space of a dinner argument. It’s not quite enough for a film, but it is for one magnificent scene.
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