Wednesday, August 05, 2015

“The Diary Of A Teenage Girl”– Movie Review



This week, I attended a New York Times Film Club screening of the new drama “The Diary Of A Teenage Girl” starring Kristen Wiig and Alexander Skarsgård.


When a teenage girl discovers her sexual awakening, how will it impact her life with family and friends?


As a teenager in the hip, funky era of the mid-1970’s, Minnie (Bel Powley) is starting to become aware of her own sexuality. An unfortunate by-product of this is the fact that she is finding herself being drawn to Monroe (Skarsgård), who just so happens to be the boyfriend of her mother, Charlotte (Wiig). Unsure if Monroe is attracted to her, Minnie boldly comes on to him at the first opportunity when they are alone; seeing that he’s receptive to her advances, they decide to go for it. Delighted at having finally lost her virginity -- and especially that it was with such an experienced man as Monroe -- Minnie decides to make an audio recording of her adventure so that she will have it for posterity.

Pascal (Christopher Meloni), Minnie’s father, is deeply concerned about his daughter’s well-being. After the divorce, Pascal moved to New York City. Although he calls periodically to inquire about her situation, Pascal suspects Charlotte’s irresponsible behavior may be having a negative impact on Minnie. Pascal starts hinting it would be best if Minnie moved to New York where he could keep a closer eye on her. When Minnie starts expanding her circle of friends to include sexual experimentation with young men and women closer to her own age, Monroe begins to feel they should end their affair because it may be bad for her and also harmful to his relationship to Charlotte.

The love triangle implodes when Charlotte finds and listens to Minnie’s audio tapes graphically detailing her sexual encounters with Monroe. Charlotte confronts them and decides they should be together. Unnerved by this, Charlotte immediately runs away, crashing with a friend she made one night while out partying. After a few days, things take a turn for the weird and she regretfully returns home to learn Charlotte is now unemployed (leaving her more time for drinking and drugs) and has dumped Monroe. With things having changed so drastically and dramatically, can Minnie repair her relationship with Charlotte or will she be forced to live with Pascal in New York City?


Perhaps it’s an interesting coincidence that “The Diary Of A Teenage Girl” is set in 1976 San Francisco because based on the way the movie is shot, its quality resembles that of a porn flick from that precise time and place. It is also coincidental that the use of animation and subplots about hallucinogenic drugs of the time are employed because of the film’s digressive nature. This might also account for why some things in the motion picture don’t quite parse (e.g., Why did Charlotte carry groceries upstairs when coming home? Is the kitchen in their house on the second floor? Also, how exactly did Charlotte find Minnie’s tapes? Did she stumble across them while cleaning her room or just snooping around?).

Although “The Diary Of A Teenage Girl” is slightly over an hour and a half, there is the remarkable sense that its running time is much longer. A little more than an hour into the film, you may find yourself wondering not just how this story will resolve itself, but when it will end. Boredom sets in after a while once you’ve been pelted with just about every unusual situation imaginable. As it nears the end of the second act, it begins to either lose steam or lose interest in its own story; whatever momentum it may have had up until that point seems as though it gets lost, quite possibly out of sheer exhaustion.

Admittedly, “The Diary Of A Teenage Girl” may be similar to Lena Dunham’s HBO television series “Girls” in the sense that it might be somewhat wasted on anyone other than its target audience: women -- and more specifically, young women. If you are not part of that demographic -- either by gender or age, if not both -- then this might not necessarily seem like the most appealing entertainment option. Additionally, there is the matter of how Minnie relates to Monroe after their affair concludes; she comes across as somewhat bitter and angry at him and it’s a little unclear why, since they both appeared to satisfy a deep-seated need the other had. Whether Minnie is better or worse by the end of the motion picture could also be a matter of opinion.

The Diary of a Teenage Girl (2015) on IMDb

No comments:

Post a Comment

Speak Your Piece, Beeyotch!