Film Review: “The Diary of a Teenage Girl” (2015) ★★★★★


Sometimes actors need a few years to build up their resume with extraordinary roles that will in turn open for them the door up to the sky where they can enjoy their achievement. Having said that, playing risky, complicated, and very demanding characters is always the key for any actor to grow professionally. What Bel Powley does in Marielle Heller’s movie is hazardous, however, sensational and striking. In one single movie she does something most young actresses only dream of. After seeing her splendid performance you will certainly say that she has already stepped on the right path… it surely should help her to get even better roles that will help her expand her acting ability. And why not, if she is that good?

The journey begins in San Francisco during the 1970s. Minnie is obsessed to find out what does it mean to be in love, or rather, to be loved by someone. She thinks nobody really loves her. And if she misses an opportunity to feel what an adult might feel, the second chance will never come. Her mother, Charlotte (Kristen Wiig), is about to lose her job, does drugs and binges on alcohol, therefore, has no time to look after her two daughters. When the movie begins we find Minnie being proud of herself for losing her virginity to her mother’s boyfriend, Monroe (Alexander Skarsgård). But her journey of discovering her real herself will take Minnie into a wild world of sex, drugs, chaotic and uncontrolled lifestyle where she must finally understand what she really wants, and perhaps, to find the purpose of her life…

The Diary of a teenage girl is written in a very lucid way, which truly allows you to understand Minnie better. The movie is based on Phoebe Gloeckner’s novel, and somewhat based on a true story. Sometimes we do notice that whatever Minnie does is because of her desire to grow faster, to see the world the way her teenage eyes might not see. This is why she throws herself into an affair with her mother’s boyfriend and later on start manipulating him without thinking of probable consequences. But there is one consequence that lingers unsuspectingly over her which she will understand very soon.

The success of the movie comes not only because of its insane story, but with truly brilliant performances as well. After seeing WELCOME TO ME with Kristin Wiig, I could not understand why she does not get more dramatic roles. But when you see her as Charlotte, you realize that for someone like Wiig there is no need to have a big role, but a little one, where she has enough screen time to show her amazing acting skills. Alexander Skarsgård does what he usually does, appears on the set and does the job by making his character look as convincing as possible. And who else if not him could have play Monroe better?

The Diary of a Teenage Girl, directed by Marielle Heller, is a must-see movie. Her take on the book was simply superb. Bel Powley is phenomenal as Minnie, elevating the movie to a whole new level as one of the best coming-of-age films about teenage girl, sex, and bad decisions that define the protagonist the way it could have never happened if she had a calmer lifestyle.

Click here to read my interview with Bel Powley. 

opens August 14 in Toronto and Vancouver!

The film opens August 28 in Montreal
and throughout the fall in other Canadian cities.

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