The Orange County Film Society’s Red Carpet Club resumed its programming with The Diary of a Teenage Girl on July 28th at Lido Live. The film, which starred Kristen Wiig, Alexander Skarsgård, Bel Powley and Christopher Meloni, was written and directed by Marielle Heller and based off Phoebe Gloeckner’s novel, The Diary of a Teenage Girl: An Account in Words and Pictures, and first premiered at the 2015 Sundance Film Festival.
The plot follows a teenage artist living in 1970’s San Francisco, 15-year-old Minnie Goetze, as she begins an affair with her mother’s 35-year-old boyfriend, Monroe Rutherford. Though the sexual content of the film taps into the controversial topic of underaged relationships, the storyline also presents its audience with much more: a rare, honest portrayal of female sexuality in adolescence. Comedy and drama intertwine in a coming-of-age tale of a young lady who wants to find herself, as well as love, in the world. It treats sexual curiosity with no judgment, and allows Minnie the space to learn to make her own decisions, whether right or wrong. There is a certain uneasiness in the proximity the audience has to Minnie’s raw emotional and sexual machinations, which gives the film much of its power and also allows us to see how her experiences carry over into her artwork and her emerging adulthood, as she contextualizes her relationship with Monroe.
Ultimately, The Diary of a Teenage Girl is a must-see because it is highly relatable and fun in the process, a fresh take on a journey through newfound sexuality, self-doubt and trying to find oneself in the world, all headed towards the realization that first and foremost one needs to love oneself first.