Opening 19 Nov 2015
A brilliant and liberating coming-of-age story set in the free-floating, post-hippy hills of San Francisco in 1976, The Diary of a Teenage Girl tells the story of Minne Goetz (Bel Powley), an extremely talented budding young cartoonist with an equally voracious, newly-discovered sexual appetite. Living with her attractive, yet lost mother, Charlotte (Kristen Wiig) and younger sister, 15-year-old Minnie, is surrounded by hard drugs, alcohol, party-hearty men and precocious high-school teens. A strange twist of events lands the virginal Minnie at a neighborhood bar with her mom’s current boyfriend, Monroe. The two, separated by a 20-year age difference, immediately begin a troublesome sexual affair. What seems at first off-putting, if not immoral, their affair as seen from Minnie’s perspective is somehow strangely understandable. The sexual "power" her mother casually mentions at the breakfast table, Minnie quickly learns to harness, leaving her mother’s handsome lover and a popular and affluent high-school jock in her wake. We watch as this in-bred lovers’ triangle painfully rips apart an already highly dysfunctional family.
Maybe it’s the creatively stunning way the film is shot which makes the audience sympathetic viewers of this statutory tryst. Live shots are overlaid and interspersed with beautifully graphic animation by Icelandic artist, Sara Gunnarsdottir and witty commentary from Minnie herself. Minnie is humorously exaggerated with large hips and breasts, a bulging belly, superhuman strength -- an awkward Amazon navigating waters teeming with potential promiscuity partners. Maybe it’s the honesty of Phoebe Gloeckner’s memoir upon which the film is based. Minnie who’s "still almost a child" asks Pascal, in a post-coitus stupor, about his favorite color in an attempt to get to know him better. At first he seems sleazy, but Monroe turns out to be a lost and needy soul who was even willing to marry Minnie at her mother’s urging.
The film reminds us about the human side of people, even with they do inappropriate things. (Ericka Seifried)