thu 14/12/2017

DVD: The Diary of a Teenage Girl | reviews, news & interviews

DVD: The Diary of a Teenage Girl

DVD: The Diary of a Teenage Girl

Bel Powley explores teenage sexuality in Seventies San Francisco

Minnie me: Bel Powley as teen audio-diarist Minnie Goetze

About a dozen years ago the publishing industry cottoned on to the sex lives of women. Memoirs in which women wrote with complete candour about their sex lives appeared in sudden profusion, from Belle de Jour's blog-turned-book and The Sex Life of Catherine M to Jane Juska’s account about what happened when she advertised in the NYRB, aged 67, for sexual partners. At the younger end of the market there was One Hundred Strokes of the Brush Before Bed by a Sicilian teenager known only (at her parents’ insistence) as Melissa P. Marielle Heller’s The Diary of a Teenage Girl feels like a late filmic addition to this conga line of honest documents.

In Bel Powley as mid-Seventies San Franciscan schoolgirl Minnie Goetze, it has an actress who artlessly embodies the confused mess of innocence and experience of a gamine girl finding out how her body works (not least its most vital organ of all, her heart). When Minnie make a pass at her mother’s boyfriend Monroe (Alexander Skarsgård), who is too weak to resist the big eyes and dirty grin, her ensuing odyssey is episodic and picaresque, framed in the style of the strip cartoonist Minnie aspires to be (the film's original source is Phoebe Gloeckner’s 2002 graphic novel). The redemptive path towards self-acceptance is gruellingly honest and also wonderfully funny, mainly thanks to Powley. Kristen Wiig leaves her comedy chops in the locker and plays Minnie’s feckless stoner mom straight.

This all too rare American anthem for teenage girls is recommended viewing for its primary target audience. As Powley explains in the one short feature in the extras, they have had far too few films exploring their burgeoning libidos. It’s also an essential primer for boys, who possibly have too many: The Diary of a Teenage Girl might just make them more sensitive to the foreign ructions of the young female psyche.

The redemptive path towards self-acceptance is gruellingly honest and also wonderfully funny

rating

Editor Rating: 
4
Average: 4 (1 vote)

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