Synopsis: A teen artist living in 1970s San Francisco enters into an affair with her mother’s boyfriend.
Release Date: August 14th, 2015 MPAA Rating: PG-13
Genre(s): Drama, Romance
Coming of age stories come in two flavors. First, there are the ones that portray the gradual loss of innocence as the hero grows up and experiences the world. Then, there are the ones where the subjects lose their religion in one fell swoop. The Diary of a Teenage Girl is the second kind.
The titular teenage girl of The Diary of a Teenage Girl is Minnie Goetze (Bel Powley from “Benidorm”). The year is 1976, the city is San Francisco, and Minnie is a homely, pudgy fifteen-year-old girl who is just beginning to discover her budding sexuality. She lives with her mother, Charlotte (Kristen Wiig from The Skeleton Twins), whose boyfriend, Monroe (Alexander Skarsgård from “True Blood”), is always around. One evening, when Charlotte doesn’t feel like going out, she suggests that Monroe take Minnie to the bar with him instead. He does, and thus begins a torrid affair between the teenage girl and the older, more experienced slacker. Minnie’s tryst with Monroe ignites an insatiable sexual appetite in her, but she truly believes that she is in love with Monroe and keeps coming back to him. Of course, that situation cannot end well for anyone involved.
The Diary of a Teenage Girl was written and directed by Marielle Heller (a longtime actress who makes her directorial debut with the film), adapted from the graphic novel The Diary of a Teenage Girl: An Account in Words and Pictures by Phoebe Gloeckner. Because the source material is very visual, it goes without saying that the film is, too. It’s a cool mixture of live action and animation that really lets the audience get into Minnie’s head. Bel Powley brilliantly projects the tentative self confidence that comes from a young woman who is searching for love yet constantly confusing it with sexual attention. And The Diary of a Teenage Girl is not just a clever name; Minnie dictates all of her thoughts and experiences into a cassette recorder, letting the audience know all of her deepest and innermost secrets and fears as they unfold right in front of her. And that is where the cute cartoons, flowery visual effects, and K-Tel’s Sounds of the Seventies end.
The Diary of a Teenage Girl is an unsettling movie, and it’s not just because of Minnie’s flings with Monroe. It gets dark as Minnie travels down the wrong paths to womanhood, and the viewer actually feels dirty watching some of it. But, they still don’t want to stop watching; like a car crash or a roller coaster, the audience is in it until the end, hoping for the return of the cute cartoons and flowery visual effects.
The soundtrack to The Diary of a Teenage Girl is fabulous, even if it doesn’t seem like the type of stuff that a teenage girl would listen to, even in 1976. It is filled with plenty of period songs by the likes of Heart, T.Rex, Mott The Hoople, Iggy and the Stooges, Television, and the Dwight Twilley Band. There are some new songs, written by score composer Nate Heller and featuring vocals from The Dirty Projectors vocalist Amber Coffman, which sound modern but still have a laid-back seventies groove to them. It may not be a greatest hits album, but the soundtrack to The Diary of a Teenage Girl is still packed with cool tunes that capture both the innocence and the dirtiness of the era.
Cast and Crew
- Director(s): Marielle Heller
- Producer(s): Miranda BaileyAnne CareyBert HamelinckMadeline Shapiro
- Screenwriter(s): Marielle Heller
- Story: Phoebe Gloeckner
- Cast: Bel Powley (Minnie)Kristen Wiig (Charlotte)Alexander Skarsgård (Monroe) Christopher Meloni (Pascal)Abby Wait (Gretel)Miranda Bailey (Andrea)Carson Mell (Michael Cocaine)John Parsons (Burt)Madeleine Waters (Kimmie)Austin Lyon (Ricky Wasserman)Quinn Nagle (Chuck)Davy Clements (Arnie)
- Editor(s): Marie-Hélène Dozo
- Cinematographer: Brandon Trost
- Production Designer(s):
- Costume Designer: Carmen Grande
- Casting Director(s): Nina Henninger
- Music Score: Nate Heller
- Music Performed By:
- Country Of Origin: USA