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The Diary of a Teenage Girl (Film Review and Trailer)

DIARY poster

 

 

 

Review by John Delia

Sex, drugs and 1970’s San Francisco, what more do you need to tell a story about a coming of age teenager? Fortunately there’s enough to make the movie The Diary of a Teenage Girl, a wild and wacky film that leaves nothing to the imagination. Easy to burst testosterone levels of male teens, this feature should sell a lot of tickets to any PG-13 rated film so they can pull off an auditorium shuffle. 

The setting of the 70’s includes hippies in bloom in nearly every park in Frisco, Patty Hearst pointing guns at bank tellers and parties brimming with young people wanting to get a quick high out of life. Even the location’s perfect for this story about Minnie Goetze (Bel Powley) a 15-year-old coming of age virgin who’s got her sights set on being a cartoonist in this free love atmosphere. Every day she draws in her diary or on whatever’s close by and with her hormones raging even her mind paints pictures of her sexual rage. Conveniently for her there’s a solution to her dreams, her mother Charlotte’s (Kristen Wiig) new handsome boyfriend Monroe (Alexander Skarsgård) and she’s about to seduce him.

Bel Powley as Minnie Goetze

Bel Powley as Minnie Goetze

Thus begins a story completely outrageous with Minnie taking her best friend Kimmie (Madeleine Waters) along for the relentless quest of sex, drugs and flowers in their hair. Director and co-writer Marielle Heller throws every possible 70’s flower child moment into the film including some of a more promiscuous nature that most hippies didn’t even do. Being as shocking that one can possibly be, Heller achieves putting herself ahead of even John Waters in all departments. The only thing she leaves out are the sad facts about sexual disease, which was rampant during the 70’s only missing the onslaught of Aids that was recognized in the early 80’s.

Madeleine Waters as Kimmie and Bel Powley as Minnie Goetze

Madeleine Waters as Kimmie and Bel Powley as Minnie Goetze

The bright side of the movie comes with the acting. The performances by Bel Powley as Minnie and Madeleine Waters as her best friend Kimmie are amazing considering the free love characters they portray and the realism they put into it. (That said, playing a 15-year-old is a stretch for Powley and in some pivotal scenes looks more her real age.) Both acting arcs are nicely completed from innocence to immorality, peaking at psychosis from drugs, and a finale of coming back down to Earth. I’m not too sure that you can call them brave performances, or just a display of Director Heller’s ideology. Either way, they are VERY memorable.

Monroe (Alexander Skarsgård) and Minnie (Bel Powley) have a drink at a local bar

Monroe (Alexander Skarsgård) and Minnie (Bel Powley) have a drink at a local bar

While I may seem a bit overly critical of the film, after all it is just a work of fiction on the part of Heller. My major concern with her story is the film shows no consequences for what Minnie and other characters do. Unfortunately 15-year-old teens will probably flock to the movie after seeing a trailer to purchase a ticket to a PG-13 film at the same time The Diary of a Teenage Girl is playing.  My feeling is that the content of this drama with comedy should have been labeled NC-17 so no one under age of maturity could attend a showing. Just saying, and your comments are welcomed.

 

The Diary of a Teenage Girl has been rated R by the MPAA for strong sexual content including dialogue, graphic nudity, drug use, language and drinking-all involving teens. The drugs are heavy, the nudity frontal and openly explicit, the drinking is substantial and the sex is illicit. A word of caution, the film shows no consequences for what Minnie and other characters in the film do. And that’s saying it as mildly as I can.

FINAL ANALYSIS: A wicked quirky film that offers a bold fantasy about a virgin in the 70’s. (C+)

Additional Film Information:
Cast: Bel Powley, Kristen Wiig, Alexander Skarsgård, Christopher Meloni, Austin Lyon, Madeleine Waters, Margarita Levieva, Quinn Nagle, Abigail Wait
Directed and written by: Marielle Heller
Genre: Drama, Coming of Age
MPAA Rating: R for strong sexual content including dialogue, graphic nudity, drug use, language and drinking-all involving teens
Running Time: 1hr.42 min.
Release Date: August 28, 2015
Distributed by: Sony Pictures Classics

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