indiewire.com – Girls just wanna have fun. And girls just wanna get laid. Hey, there are no judgments in Marielle Heller’s half-excellent coming-of-age tale, “The Diary Of A Teenage Girl.” Provocative, brutally honest, R-rated formative year stories for females are certainly in short supply, and so Heller’s vividly drawn debut feature certainly delivers in this regard, with a rich and expressively effervescent bildungsroman story. But like so many Sundance narratives this year, Heller’s movie begins to overstate its case and loses hold of its charms in its darker, overlong second half, yet manages some deft navigation of potentially distasteful subjects and tricky source material.
Based on cartoonist Phoebe Gloeckner’s graphic novels, “The Diary Of A Teenage Girl” is about a sexually precocious adolescent girl in 1970s San Francisco who begins a complex affair with her mother’s boyfriend. The film undoubtedly introduces us to some great new talent: Minnie Goetze (an outstanding Bel Powley) is a typical teenage girl. She’s curious, wants to be loved, and is trying to discover who she is. But the artistic and inquisitive Minnie is perhaps a little bit more sexually curious than most girls her age, and the anything-goes culture around her is certainly not disapproving of this exploration. Her carefree mother Charlotte (Kristen Wiig) parties and uses drugs liberally with her boyfriend Monroe (Alexander Skarsgård).
Already enamored with “the handsomest man in the world” Monroe, Minnie’s new normal sets the stage for a fateful night when the two cross the line. They quickly launch into a complicated, torrid love affair where both Minnie and Monroe have to tiptoe around their feelings. Excited about losing her virginity and dying to tell someone about the exhilarating clandestine world of adulthood she’s entered, the wide-eyed Minnie begins to document all her thoughts about love, sex, and Monroe through her art, perhaps dictating far too much evidence into her tape recorder. As you might imagine, it doesn’t end well.
Heller has technique to burn, employing inventive elements of animation mixed with live-action as Minnie uses her burgeoning sexuality and womanhood to find her place. Sharply observed, funny, and textured, the opening acts of “Diary Of A Teenage Girl” are endearing, clever, and intoxicating, and Minnie is completely believable.
As Monroe, the laid back but exploitative dude who begins to unexpectedly catch feelings, Alexander Skarsgård is quite good. Wiig doesn’t have as much to do, but after many frustratingly uneven serious performances of late (“The Skeleton Twins,” “Hateship Loveship”), she nails this role. A particularly hilarious scene-stealer is Christopher Meloni, as Pascal, Minnie’s mom’s uptight psychologist ex-boyfriend who continues to insist upon being a father figure to Minnie and her nosy sister Gretel (Abby Wait). But ‘Teenage Girl’ is for the most part the Bel Powley show. This British actress is amazingly genuine, and the movie rests on the shoulders of her effortlessly charming performance. She anchors the movie and it wouldn’t work half as well as it does without her.
‘Teenage Girl’ features good aesthetics encapsulating the counterculture era, with a cool soundtrack (The Stooges, T-Rex, Heart, Nico, Mott The Hoople) and great art direction, despite the period-accurate browny, mustard color palate. But at 102-minutes, “The Diary Of A Teenage Girl” simply can’t sustain its vivacious nature. Heller’s picture overdoes its “I just want to be loved” theme, and the romantic obsessiveness of the second half becomes frustrating. We want to see Minnie’s exploration of adulthood, and not always how it simply relates to Monroe.
As Minnie’s life begins to fall apart, she starts to use sex as a self-destructive weapon instead of a tool for self-discovery. While that seems fair enough given this particular crisis, the movie begins to take on miserablist qualities common to Sundance, and what began as idiosyncratic and fresh starts to feel more familiar.
Still, Heller is due a lot of credit. She takes objectionable, potentially repulsive subject matter and imbues it with honesty, fairness, and compassion without prejudice. Heller’s film can also be heartbreakingly authentic in its depiction of teenage wonder, infatuation, confusion, and insecurity. Powley’s poised, incredibly convincing portrayal also connects very real adolescent ideas of desire and exploration to the emotional inability to manage the fallout. Perhaps a little editing could have fixed some of the nagging second half issues, and it might have fulfilled its promise of being great and not just very good. Nevertheless, as uneven as it can be at times in its last 15 minutes, Marielle Heller has crafted promising debut that evokes the idea of unlocking the secret world of teenage girls and letting us live inside the special little jewel box, if ever so briefly. [B/B+]
Hey guys. I have spent the last couple days updating the gallery with more events of Alex from Sundance. I have also added some new photoshoot photos as well. Most of the MQ photos have been updated with HQ ones too. I have also added a brand new shoot of Alex from the Vanity Fair portrait session. So check all those out in the gallery.
VIEW: Photoshoots > 2015 > 2015: Session #001 – 2015 Sundance Film Festival Portraits
VIEW: Photoshoots > 2015 > 2015: Session #002 – The Diary of A Teenage Girl Portraits
VIEW: Photoshoots > 2015 > 2015: Session #004 – Vanity Fair Sundance Portraits
VIEW: Public Appearances > 2015 > January 24: Black Label Media Hosts A Party For The Art of Elysium And Elysium Industry With Guest Host James Franco – 2015 Park City
VIEW: Public Appearances > 2015 > January 24: GREY GOOSE Blue Door Hosts “The Diary Of A Teenage Girl” Party At Sundance – 2015 Park City
VIEW: Public Appearances > 2015 > January 25: The Variety Studio At Sundance Presented By Dockers – Day 2 – 2015 Park City
VIEW: Public Appearances > 2015 > January 25: ChefDance & HuffPost Live Media Lounge – Day 3 – 2015 Park City
VIEW: Public Appearances > 2015 > January 25: Tim Hortons Cafe And Bake Shop At Chefdance Media Lounge – Day 3 – 2015 Park City
VIEW: Public Appearances > 2015 > January 25: Birchbox Pop-up At Park City – Day 3 – 2015 Park City
VIEW: Public Appearances > 2015 > January 25: Acura Studio At Sundance – Day 3 – 2015 Park City
Thanks to THR, we have 2 brand new photos of Alex taken at the Sundance Film Festival. He was joined by his ‘Diary of a Teenage Girl’ castmates as well as a solo shot. So check them out in the gallery.
VIEW: Photoshoots > 2015 > 2015: Session #003 – The Hollywood Reporter
theguardian.com – Being a teenager is about testing the boundaries, venturing into the darkness and seeing just how far you can go til something bad happens. Knowing that limit is part of what shapes us as adults, and I’ve never seen that process illustrated as well as in The Diary of a Teenage Girl. Considering the film is set in the counter-culture of San Francisco in the 1970s, there was ample darkness for a girl to get into.
The movie wades right in with 17-year-old Minnie (Benidorm star Bel Powley) starting a sexual relationship with her mother’s boyfriend, Monroe (Alexander Skarsgard). It carries on far longer than it should, with him egging her on as she’s pushing her away. It’s not helped by her mother (Kristen Wiig) who parties alongside her daughter and tacitly condones her pot, alcohol, and cocaine use, but is simultaneously threatened by her daughter’s blossoming sexuality. Minnie gets into all sorts of trouble all over town, but she keeps coming back to Monroe, convinced that they can somehow make their obviously inappropriate relationship work.
First time writer/director Marielle Heller, adapting the novel by Phoebe Gloekner, does a bang up job with the story, but also offers a fair bit of visual ingenuity. Minnie wants to be a cartoonist and draws constantly, her pictures embellishing the footage in spectacular and subtle ways and her comic strips becoming full-on animation. It’s less whimsical than it seems, especially when used sparingly. The rest of the film has a sort of hazy glaze over it, like old Polaroid snapshots or the best Instagram filter for any Throwback Thursday photo you post from your youth.
But it’s Minnie’s story that is captivating, made even better by a naked performance, literally and figuratively, by Powley. Is it her ill-advised (and possibly abusive) first sexual experience that forms her, is it her mother who fancies herself a feminist but competes with women for men’s attention, is it the drugs, is it her sexually-progressive friend Kimmie (Madeline Waters), is it the 70s, is it underground comics, is it San Francisco, is it just hormones? No, it’s all of those things. And this is the rare movie that realises that individuals are the sum of formative experiences some good, some bad, and some productive in their devastation.
Earlier today, Alex, along with his co-stars, attended the Sundance Film Festival premiere of his new film, The Diary of a Teenage Girl. Although the movie is getting mixed reviews, everyone is so proud of this movie. Catch the video below of Alex talking about the film at the premiere. I also added another new photoshoot photo of Alex from his portrait session. So check them all out in the gallery. He looks amazing! And dont forget to check out our brand new twitter page since I dont have access to the other one.
VIEW: Photoshoots > 2015 > 2015: Session #002 – The Diary of A Teenage Girl Portrait
VIEW: Public Appearances > 2015 > January 24: “The Diary Of A Teenage Girl” – Red Carpet – Premiere – 2015 Sundance Film Festival
The cast of ‘Diary of a Teenage Girl,’ Kristen Wiig (Saturday Night Live), Alexander Skarsgård (True Blood) & Bel Powley along with director Marielle Heller, talk about keeping their own teenage diaries.
HitFix spoke to Alexander Skarsgard on the red carpet of his film ‘The Diary of a Teenage Girl’. He told us that his role was a refreshing take on an old classic trope.