Movie Review: The Diary of a Teenage Girl

By Eli Schoop, Contributor

[Sony Pictures Classics; 2015] Rating: 4.5/5 I've never been a teenage girl, and this is probably a lucky thing. Judging by what Minnie Goetze goes through in The Diary of a Teenage Girl, it'd be too strenuous and nerve wrecking to even consider wanting that lifestyle. After all, she has to deal with her drugged-up mother, mom's seductive yet profusely sleazy boyfriend, classmates behaving just as badly and a burdening sexuality that's nigh uncontrollable.

Which is not to say that Minnie herself is blameless in these affairs. She's played precociously and frankly by Bel Powley in a breakout performance, shamelessly pursuing sex and drugs without a care in the world, at least until she does have a care--or a lot of them.

It's only made more realistic for this being 1976 San Francisco by the lush cinematography, which, while being shot in 2015 San Francisco, does its damnedest to recreate the times of 30 years ago.

The whole film is enveloped by Minnie's cartoonish imagination, wherein vivid yet sloppy animations intertwine with the sequences she's experiencing to create a Crumb-esque sensation of sorts. Marielle Heller directs all these events with candor and strength, providing a coming-of-age story for girls. Instead of mimicking the copious amount of these tales geared for boys, Heller crafts a smarter version executed with heart and excellent showings from Powley, Alexander Skarsgard, and Kristen Wiig. One of the best films of the year, and a sure Oscar candidate.

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