It feels as though most “young adult” films are actually targeted towards tweens (don’t get me wrong, Wild Child and Angus, Thongs, and Perfect Snogging are masterpieces) but the thing is, the majority of actual 14-17 year olds swear like sailors and are involved in sex just as much as any 18+, because that’s when we discover these things. Now I understand that you can’t just let any 15-year-old watch a sex crazed drug fiasco of a film, but I personally feel it would be a lot more relatable and helpful for confused and growing brains. This is why Marielle Heller’s 2015 directorial debut The Diary of a Teenage Girl is the perfect film for the real coming of age.
Based on the graphic novel by Phoebe Glockner, The Diary of a Teenage Girl follows Minnie Geotze (Bel Powley), a 15-year-old girl from San Francisco with no sexual experience, only lustful curiosity. This is until she becomes involved with her mother’s lover, Monroe (Alexander Skarsgård). The immediate relatable issue being that the teenage tendency of bodily self doubt feels like it can be cured by someone finding you desirable, often leading to thinking sex means love. This film perfectly captures the desperation to seem older when you’re young, and ironically the desperation to seem younger when you’re old. Monroe and Minnie’s mother (Kristen Wiig) prove that as wise as “grown ups” seem, a lot of the time they’re just as confused and immature as we are.
The writing of Minnie’s character is ridiculously on point. Her fleeting thoughts and desirous imagination perfectly encapsulate not knowing what is right and wrong yet, and that desperation to seem experienced at everything. Asking Monroe what his favourite colour is as they lie naked in bed together perfectly exemplifies her still childlike mind.
The adolescent issue of a confusing sex drive is a feeling that a lot can relate to, but unfortunately due to the film’s 18 certificate, only those of us who have it (only very slightly more) figured out can watch this work of art (but I mean, just watch it online if you’re underage…it’s 2016)
Just to convince anyone any further, this film has a female writer and director, and is extremely visually pleasing with its 1970s warm yellow colouring, amazing clothes, and animation. So please just watch it, I’m begging at this point.
By Louise Pam
Louise is an 18-year-old from Cambridgeshire studying Film and English at university in Manchester. She loves video editing in her spare time (usually music videos and film clip compilations) and secretly aims to be the next Sally Menkes. Her favourite films are kept on a stupidly long list on her phone, but her current go to top three are Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, Lost In Translation, and We Are The Best. You can follow her at @louise.pam on instagram or @dungalouise on twitter.