Those unfamiliar with the Phoebe Glockner graphic novel upon which this rocking intake of fresh air is based could be forgiven for expecting your average sepia-tinted coming-of-age Sundance winner. Think again. Marielle Heller’s endearingly funny and zest-fresh film about a young woman enjoying sex isn’t quite like anything that festival has produced before.
We’re in San Francisco, 1974. Patty Hearst has just been kidnapped; things are getting a little wild. The charming, wide-eyed Bel Powley plays Minnie Goetz, a 15-year-old who starts an affair with her mom’s boyfriend (Skarsgård). Heller confidently wades into these morally murky waters and finds an outlet for Minnie’s passion lying within. She discovers that – just like drugs, Iggy Pop and her illustrations (which flourish boldly on screen) – sex can be liberating, and so she soon outgrows the infantile adults in her life and, quite literally, begins to flick away the men too. It’s regretful that Diary landed an 18+ rating in certain regions. This is a great film with real things to say about body image, silly boys and learning to love oneself. And one that does so while raising a fist and lifting a middle digit.
The Diary of a Teenage Girl | directed by Marielle Heller (USA 2015) with Bel Powley, Alexander Skårsgard. Starts Nov 19.