Short Review: “I had sex today,” Minnie Goetze opens The Diary of a Teenage Girl in a rollicking, proud gesture. That uncensored, honest confession leads to a quirky coming-of-age humor, this adaptation of Phoebe Gloeckner’s self-inspired graphic novel might be: A very heart-pounding sexual odyssey, which doesn’t judge.
Not necessarily a juvenile version of Lars von Trier’s Nymphomaniac or The Graduate with unapologetic reversion, yet, The Diary of a Teenage Girl revolves around a 15-y.o. precocious Minnie. She is as confused as she’s ever been when she’s willingly losing her virginity to Monroe (Alexander Skarsgård), who happens to be the beloved boyfriend of her mother (Kristen Wiig).
In Marielle Heller’s directorial debut, the ground is clear, although it’s bittersweet-ly awkward — a love triangle in midst of sexual awakening. As mentioned previously, Heller’s sympathetic direction and script doesn’t judge or label someone as a predator or a prey. The story is morally cramped; yet, no character suffers from lack of morality.
Since Minnie’s the axis, her portion of disorientation gets more weight. Her emotional state is often expressed as quirky, vibrant animations swayed around the screen. And Bel Powley (23 y.o when filming this) is the superstar by bringing all the spirit to make Minnie’s character alive with her naivety and her occasional lust.
It’s never been easy to watch The Diary of a Teenage Girl, although the heart-pounding story is definitely digestible. There’s not many coming-of-age film depicts teenage hormones as ridiculously fatal as this.