The Diary of a Teenage Girl
Based on the semi-biographical book by the same name (written by Phoebe Gloeckner), The Diary of a Teenage Girl is a refreshing drama that follows a girl’s explorations as she journeys into adulthood. Minnie Goetze (Bel Powley) is a 15-year-old girl, growing up in 1970s San Francisco – a time dominated by sexual awakenings that took over society as a whole and changed it forever. Minnie is changed forever, too: in her longing for love and acceptance, she enters into a questionable relationship with her mother’s boyfriend, Monroe Rutherford (Alexander Skarsgård). A love affair that is doomed from the beginning, it leaves its mark on Minnie on many levels – not only is she starting to realise her desires and needs, but it also helps her develop her artistic talents.
Although the story could be considered scandalous since it portrays a very explicitly sexual relationship between a 35-year-old man and an underage girl, the film in itself does not aim to shock. On the contrary, it manages to recreate the complicated, confusing and incredibly colourful world of a teenage girl on the verge of womanhood. There is neither judging, nor forced sympathising; all is as it is: the whole story is perceived through Minnie’s eyes, her thoughts, and her art. Her relationship with Monroe might be the main plotline, but it is not the only driving force here. Above all, Minnie is defined by her art – a gifted artist and an aspiring cartoonist, her character is a lot more than just a girl who is sleeping with an older man. Truth be told, the story escapes the old clichés and relies on fresh storytelling techniques, using cartoons to illustrate Minnie’s feelings and her own voiceover to move the action along.
Bel Powley is a great casting choice, as she does actually look the part, which is quite refreshing in an industry that usually casts actresses who look far too old, glamorous and mature for their roles. In this decision, the film definitely wins big. Post-True Blood, Skarsgård gives a rather convincing performance as Monroe, while Kristen Wiig proves that she is capable of a lot more than just great comedy timing. Finally, The Diary of a Teenage Girl is so good because it relies on humour, and comedy is what makes this story different – what makes it feel so much more real.
The Diary of a Teenage Girl is released nationwide on 7th August 2015.
Watch the trailer for The Diary of a Teenage Girl here: