The principles of 1960s radicalism clash with the murkier morality of those who practiced it in Sally Potter's sharply observed coming-of-age melodrama, "Ginger & Rosa." The filmmaker, still best known for "Orlando" 20 years after that breakout work, presents this conflict as it is seen through the eyes of a teenage girl.
Ginger (Elle Fanning) is a hip, jazz-and-poetry loving teen daughter of a radical chic couple in 1962 London.
But Ginger's fatherless, romantic pal Rosa (Alice Englert of "Beautiful Creatures") doesn't get it. She's more into worldly things - boys, smoking, taking teenage risks. - Ginger's decided to become a poet, Rosa is looking for true love.
Potter's film is at most artful in the painterly ways she composes the wordless scenes of the girls testing cigarettes, hitchhiking with the wrong boys, and Rosa exploring heavy petting with another boy, showing off for Ginger.
Ginger's world, away from Rosa, is of protests, protest-planning meetings and listening in on the adult chat of her parents' group.
As "The Ice Storm" passed judgment of '70s morality, Potter wrestles with the idealism of the age and the malleable ethics of those who practiced it.
The Americans in the cast blend quite well with the native Brits. But the characters are all drawn in fairly broad strokes.
When compared to, say, the far superior movie "An Education." There is the sense that we've heard this argument before, that we remember how it came out, and that for all its high-mindedness, Potter is basically indulging in nothing more than '60s nostalgia.