This Friday, at five of our six venues, we’ll be opening a film we enjoyed immensely, THE DIARY OF A TEENAGE GIRL. The girl of the title is Minnie Goetze (fantastic newcomer Bel Powley), who is longing for love, acceptance and a sense of purpose in the world. She begins a complex love affair with her mother’s (Kristen Wiig) boyfriend, “the handsomest man in the world,” Monroe Rutherford (Alexander Skarsgård). What follows is a sharp, funny and provocative account of one girl’s sexual and artistic awakening, without judgment.
Based on a 2002 graphic novel, film critics have embraced the film (it has a 93% fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes as of this writing). Writing in New York Magazine, Bilge Ebiri exclaimed, “the first thing to know about THE DIARY OF A TEENAGE GIRL is that young British actress Powley is staggeringly good in it.” In the L.A. Times, Rebecca Keegan wrote, “big summer action movies can be thrilling, but if you really want to feel your heart pounding out of your chest, try being a 15-year-old girl for 101 minutes.” In the New Republic, Elaine Teng called the film “a startlingly tough, authentic depiction of budding womanhood.” And in the New York Times, Manohla Dargis declared the film “exhilarating…the novel is life-specific, but what makes Minnie – on the page and now on the screen – greater than any one girl is how she tells her own story in her own soaringly alive voice.”
The extended Vox review included this observation by the film’s director, Marielle Heller: “I think as a society, we’re just a little bit afraid of teenage girls, and we’re definitely afraid of their sexuality. There’s a desire to shelter girls and also to ignore what they might be feeling or experiencing. The result of that is if you’re a teenage girl who’s having thoughts about sex, you think something’s wrong with you.” This is the same approach to the topic as what you can find other people writing about, and what the reasons are it for, for instance on this Lovegasm blog article about sexual forward-thinking within the media.
THE DIARY OF A TEENAGE GIRL wonderfully rejects that path.