24 March 2015 | Jody K
The Diary of a Teenage Girl is a Must-See movie!
I saw the movie that at the New Directors/New Films film festival in New York in March 2015. I read Phoebe Gloeckner's graphic novel that the film was based on. Although I did enjoy the book, I did struggle with the characters and a lot of the things the characters were doing, but I couldn't wait to read it every night. I loved the way she told the story of a 15-year-old girl that has just started an affair with her mother's boyfriend in 1970's San Francisco.
I was drawn to read the book and see the movie because I am a huge Alexander Skarsgård fan and I love to support his films. His character, Monroe Rutherford, seemed like a total jerk in the book. Alex's take on the character was much sweeter. Sure, the content is the same, but the characters in the movie (ALL of the characters) seemed much more likable in the movie. It was hard to see why Minnie would be so into Monroe in the book, but it is quite evident in the movie. Besides Alex's handsome good looks, his Monroe is a happy-go-lucky guy that shows he has a heart. (Very caring) Not that I think that having an affair with your girlfriend's 15-year-old daughter is a good thing or appropriate, you can see how a situation like this could happen (especially in that household). The fact that he could take a character like Monroe and make him so likable, convinces me that this is his best performance to date.
Minnie is the kind of girl that loves to be touched and show affection. She is a highly talented girl that has so much going on around her, and she is receptive to take it all in. I'm happy to see the way that the director/screenplay writer Marielle Heller told her story. I had heard some people said there were cringe-worthy scenes, but I didn't feel that way.
Sure there are plenty of sex and drug scenes in the movie but they are done fairly quickly and with respect and are essential to the story. There is humor throughout and lots of animation in the style of Phoebe Gloeckner and Aline Kominsky.
As I said earlier, I didn't care for the characters in the book as much as I did in the film. Bel Powley is SUPERB as Minnie (you never do detect her natural British accent). Kristen Wiig still plays an awful mother, but you can tell she cares, but in her own way. Christopher Meloni was a caring and humorous ex-step-father. I also enjoyed Madeleine Waters as Kimmie and Margarita Levieva as Tabatha which were two of the characters I particularly didn't like in the book.
Marielle's take on the book was superb. This was a passion project for her and it shows. I hope to see more of her work in the future.
Brandon Trost won the Cinematography award at Sundance and you will see why. It just doesn't feel like any other movie I have seen. It is such a stand-out film.
THE DIARY OF A TEENAGE GIRL was an excellent movie and I cannot wait to see it again and again. I hope it has a soundtrack because I definitely want to buy it. It may not be suitable to see with the family, but definitely grab your best friend and go!