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The Diary Of A Teenage Girl

23 September 2015 | 2:53 pm | Sarah Barratt

"Director Marielle Heller captures how amusing the awkwardness of being a teenager can be in hindsight"

Usually, coming of age films are either PG and unrealistic or gritty and depressing. Diary Of A Teenage Girl is neither. It's a self-narrated sexual exploration of the world of Minnie Getz (Bel Powley) and is rated MA.

Minnie is growing up, a 15-year-old in '70s San Francisco, when drugs, rock'n'roll and sexual freedom are a way of life. Director Marielle Heller captures how amusing the awkwardness of being a teenager can be in hindsight.

Minnie quickly becomes obsessed with her mother's boyfriend Monroe (Alexander Skarsgård). Monroe is accurately portrayed as the aloof, manipulative older man, but luckily Minnie's character never actually falls into the cliched underage damsel. She never loses her agency. Heller has done well to evade slut-shaming and directs a film that views teenage sexuality as an empowering time.

Minnie's imagination is accompanied by beautiful illustrations and montages, music by Iggy Pop and a wardrobe that is believably teenage. The casting is also done remarkably. Kristen Wiig plays the hot, insecure mum. Wiig is only incidentally funny and definitely isn't relying on being a comedian for this role. Then there's the hot friend (Madeleine Waters) who is constantly thinking about herself and not listening. The dorky younger sister, the hot lesbian and the high school jock that is hopeless in the sack — all the archetypes are here, but the final message is strong and well executed.

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