MARIELLE HELLER’S THE DIARY OF A TEENAGE GIRL — A REVIEW BY NICK CLEMENT

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The Diary of a Teenage Girl will likely serve as a frightening wake-up call to any parents with a 15 year old daughter. Or a daughter of any age! Set in hippe-dippy 1970’s San Francisco, this is a highly sexual account of a young girl going through a serious emotional and physical awakening, all raging hormones and misplaced ideals, and the performance from Bel Powley is absolutely incredible from first frame to last, fearless in ways that you don’t normally see on the big screen. Adapted and directed by Marielle Heller and based on the graphic novel The Diary of a Teenage Girl: An Account in Words and Pictures by Phoebe Gloeckner, this is a quirky, serious but funny, acutely aware movie that feels very personal and expressive. It’s also got a unique visual style, with floral animation being used all throughout to tap into the cluttered headspace of the lead character. That the narrative centers on a high school girl who enters into a torrid love affair with her mother’s boyfriend should give you an idea of the type of movie that this is, and because of the delicacy to the performances (the spot-on Kristen Wiig is the hard-partying mother while an effectively understated Alexander Skarsgård is the boyfriend/illicit lover), the film achieves a level of clarity that might not have happened had it been in the hands of lesser performers and storytellers. After premiering at the 2015 Sundance Film Festival, the film received a limited theatrical release last summer, and is now available to stream or rent/buy on disc.

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