Elle Fanning (left) is stunning as best friend to Alice Englert in Ginger & Rosa.
GINGER & ROSA written and directed by Sally Potter, with Elle Fanning, Alice Englert and Christina Hendricks. 90 minutes. A Union Picture release. Opens Friday (March 29). See listing. Rating: NNNN
Elle Fanning is sensational as Ginger, a high schooler who's terrified by the escalating Cold War and bewildered by her best friend, Rosa's (Alice Englert), changing affections.
Written and directed by Sally Potter (Orlando), the film conveys a strong sense of place - postwar London in 1962 - and that gloomy time when anti-nuclear demonstrators clashed with police while other Londoners remain apathetic in the pursuit of some semblance of social stability.
The narrative centres on the changing relationship between best friends at first joined at the hip and relishing the risky behaviours inspired by roiling hormones. Soon, however, Ginger becomes politically conscious, while Rosa grows more sexually aware and has an affair that deeply threatens the friendship.
Potter's assembled an impressive supporting cast, including Christina Hendricks (in a role nothing like Mad Men's Joan), Annette Bening and Oliver Platt.
But it's Fanning who makes this a must-see movie. At 15, she shows maturity and depths that even her talented sister Dakota hasn't yet matched.