A 2015 American coming-of-age drama written and directed by Marielle Heller, based on the graphic novel The Diary of a Teenage Girl: An Account in Words and Pictures by Phoebe Gloeckner. The film stars Bel Powley as a 15-year-old girl (Minnie) who becomes sexually active by starting a relationship with her mother’s boyfriend (played by Alexander Skarsgård).
Heller tells the story very strictly from Minnie’s point of view – it is HER story after all. This can be slightly jarring as technically the illicit affair going on between Minnie and Monroe is statutory rape. But Heller makes no judgement whatsoever about Minnie’s sexual awakening. Thus, depending on the viewer’s own perspective about the issue, the story can be either enlightening, awkward or offensive.
But at its core, the movie is about a teen’s quest to find maturity – a coming of age that uses sex as the signifier of adulthood. Performances are excellent throughout. Powley (who was about 22 when she shot this) captured the doe-eyed innocence of Minnie well, even as she engages in several sexual acts across the breadth of the film. The adults are portrayed – as they should be – as somewhat hypocritical screw-ups, leaving Minnie as the only rationally honest character by the end. Ironic perhaps but truthful.
A Lolita for the hipster generation (despite being set in 1976) – watch the film to discover more about your own attitudes towards sex.
To be screened at The Projector on 21st/22nd April at 8.30pm. Find out more!