Film Review: Adolescence Boldly Drawn in ‘Diary of a Teenage Girl’

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Average: 5 (1 vote)

CHICAGO – Real boldness, real truth, is hard to fine in teenage stories. The confusing and hormonal time is often trivialized, or used as a prop for unlikely situations. “Diary of a Teenage Girl” pulls no such punches, in a tale of a 15 year old girl having her first love affair – with a 35 year old man. Oscarman rating: 3.5/5.0
Rating: 3.5/5.0

The film is based on the graphic novel by Phoebe Gloeckner, and was adapted and directed by Marielle Heller. The woman-centric production is willing to go “all the way” with the depiction of the affair, which sets it apart from American attitudes in cinema towards sex. The title actress, Bel Powley, is able to handle all the feelings of the arrows shot toward her character, and communicates a combination of vulnerability and strength that makes her a real survivor. The ending was not in concert with the rest of the film – except for the last encounter with the girl and her lover – and it offered a Deus ex machina for a very difficult scenario that clashed with the rest of the audacious narrative. It’s not enough to spoil the whole thing, but is was enough to desire something more.

It’s 1976 in San Francisco, and Millie (Bel Powley) begins the film by informing the audience – via her era appropriate cassette tape recorder – that she has had sex for the first time, and it was with her mother’s boyfriend Monroe (Alexander Sarsgard). This begins her journey, which involves the ongoing relationship with Monroe, the confrontations with her mother Charlotte (Kristen Wiig) and sister Gretel (Abby Wait).

The affair complicates everything in Millie’s life, including her erotic drawings in the style of fellow San Franciscan graphic artists R. Crumb and Aline Kominsky. She wants the situation to make her more of a woman, but her mother’s slow meltdown, her ex-stepfather’s shaming and her best friend’s temptations take her in the opposite direction. She will have to learn her lessons by herself.

”Diary of a Teenage Girl” continues its limited release in Chicago on August 14th. See local listings for theaters and show times. Featuring Kristen Wiig, Bel Powley, Alexander Skarsgard. Abby Wait and Christopher Meloni. Screenplay adapted and directed by Marielle Heller. Rated “R”

StarContinue reading for Patrick McDonald’s full review of “Diary of a Teenage Girl”

Bel Powley
Millie (Bel Powley) Tells All in ‘Diary of a Teenage Girl’
Photo credit: Sony Pictures Classics

StarContinue reading for Patrick McDonald’s full review of “Diary of a Teenage Girl”

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