The Diary of a Teenage Girl tells the story of fifteen year old artist Minnie Getz (Bel Powley; A Royal Night Out, Equals) as she enters into an affair with her ditzy mum’s (Kristen Wiig; The Martian, Welcome to Me) boyfriend Monroe (Alexander Skarsgard; Hidden, True Blood) and what follows as she lives her life in 1970’s San Francisco.
Based on the comic of the same name the film takes the original book and truly turns it into a film form, bringing to life the drawings in the book, her private thoughts, fabricated conversations and real life letters with her hero Aline Kominsky. Without knowing the original book (though I may have just ordered it), I don’t know how true to the comic these were, but they were confidently executed and beautifully added to the 1970’s aesthetic of the film.
The film shows a very honest and highly realistic portrayal of female teenage sexual discovery, the confusing emotions, the exciting giddiness and irrational behavior, it’s all there in a glorious realistic mess and it’s fantastic to watch.
Bel Powley makes an enchanting heroine and brings to life Minnie’s wide eyed and naive attitude about her relationship with Monroe and her desperate need for validation from him. The irrational way she outburst at him accusing him of thinking she’s fat and the way she reacts when Monroe tries to explain the fucked up ness of their relationship keep reminding you and her that she is a teenager and young.
Alexander Skarsgaard does a tremendous job of tackling the complex emotions Monroe goes through whilst juggling relationships with the mother and daughter. Kristen Wiig does well as the partying, wreckless mother, quite clueless of her daughter’s altrications and Christopher Meloni (Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp, They Came Together) is almost unrecognizable as Minnie’s stepfather Pascal.
It’s rare to see films that portray female teenage sexuality in a realistic non-preachy way. So often films focus on the consequences of sex, probably in some danger that if they show a teenage girl enjoying sex then parents will freak out that the film is encouraging girls to get pregnant.
When you compare the countless number of successful films that show teenage boys on the quest for action, compared to those focused on girls, the imbalance becomes very much apparent. Thinking of ‘teen boys on a sex quest’ films, straight away films like American Pie, Super Bad, Weird Science and The Last American Virgin roll off the tongue in quick succession. Though when you think of films centered around teenage girls and sex, either it isn’t really dealt with or ends up with the illicit abortion.
One film I can think of in recent years which has dealt with the subject of a girl wanting to get busy is The To Do List, but despite starring a pretty blinding cast, the film didn’t have a proper release in the UK, so obviously someone thought we didn’t want to see it. It’s important that films such as this and TDOATG seek to address this imbalance so girls have something to turn to, films that show that they are more than some illicit prize for men to fight over and can take charge of their own destiny.
The Diary of a Teenage Girl is an honest and beautiful portrayal of young adulthood and in my opinion one of the best films of 2015. It’s such a let down that the BBFC made this an 18, as this is a film that every teenager should watch, and everyone else too.
Genre: Drama, Romance DVD Release Date: 11th January Rating:18 Running Time: 102 mins Director: Marielle Heller Cast:Bel Powley, Kristen Wiig, Alexander Skarsgard