Filmmaker Sally Potter equals rich insight into matters sexual. The woman who gave us Orlando and Yes (which you should rent if you’ve never seen them) has a new remarkable film that penetrates the psychological effects of the nuclear scares of the early 1960s through the eyes of precocious 17 year old Ginger and her far less mature best friend Rosa (Alice Englert). It also reveals the problems of radical hard left politics. When Marxism or socialism absorbs free love hedonism, anarchism, and libertarianism then Marxism, socialism, women, and children, tend to suffer. This is one of many fascinating ideas that Potter has thrashed out in this film. Whether she was aware that she was doing this, I don’t know. But it comes through brilliantly. So if you are of a political activist disposition you should see this film and talk about it with your fellow activists. But you may have a fallout with someone during the conversation. No pun intended.
Moreover, Ginger & Rosa has a very positive and organic gay couple played beautifully by Oliver Platt and Timothy Spall. They are the natural outgrowths of the hard left political reality that provided sanctuary and dignity for gay men at the time. Annette Bening, you may recall was robbed of an Oscar a few years ago for The Kids Are All Right so that the younger Natalie Portman, excellent in the marvelous film, Black Swan, despite controversy about her dance work in the film, could appeal to a younger crowd…. but I digress. I had to get that out. Benning is terrific as a feminist/progressive anti-nuke activist from the US. Alessandro Nivola is devilishly appealing and layered as Ginger’s libertine father who spouts his left wing notions but treats women as objects. Christina Hendricks of Madmen fame, doesn’t always get the accent right, but the emotional core of Ginger’s mother comes through powerfully. If you’re a Hendricks fan as I am, you will be proud of her. And Fanning reveals just how all-consuming the fear of nuclear annihilation can be. She’s truly powerful.
Ginger & Rosa
Edina Cinema, 50th St. & France Av. S., Edina