Ricky's Film Reviews

Bringing you honest reviews of recent releases

The Diary of a Teenage Girl

A teen artist living in 1970s San Francisco enters into an affair with her mother’s boyfriend.

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Cast

Bel Powley – Minnie Goetze

Alexander Skarsgård – Monroe

Kristen Wiig – Charlotte Worthington

Christopher Meloni – Pascal MacCorkill

Austin Lyon – Ricky Wasserman

Madeleine Waters – Kimmie

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Open Mind, Open Flower

Diary of a Teenage Girl wasn’t my type of movie at all. But from an artistic point of view it was absolutely fantastic. Directed well, it contains literally EVERYTHING a viewer could want in a movie; a tense ‘will they, won’t they’ love story, family feuds and reconciliation, heartwarming friendships, bullies and calming influences. Annoying little sisters, frisky teenage boys, playing truant, it’s all here.
This movie portrays the life of a young female in such an honest way that it’s as if in real life, the director found a diary and got a bunch of actors to play it out word for word whilst being filmed. The accuracy is perfect, right down to the smallest facial expression. And as for Minnie’s journey of sexual discovery..
Wow.

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When Minnie begins to grow closer to her mother’s boyfriend Monroe, the sexual tension is almost painful. Bel Powley does an incredible job of bringing the character and her dilemma to life; her acting involves a lot of saddened facial expressions and crying, excited giggling, laying still in the bath or running around, and of course – sexual intercourse. And those bulging eyes seem to amplify her performance the entire time. The actress gives such an honest performance during the movie that I felt as though I was watching a documentary – it didn’t feel like acting, it felt real. Top marks here for Bel, she was superb.

The sex scenes actually brought laughter to the auditorium. Skarsgård and Powley have a natural on-screen chemistry in and out of the bed, and scenes where they were having sex seemed to get viewers in the cinema laughing. Again, the situation was played out so honestly that as I sat watching them banging, I felt more humoured than horny. A good side to the intercourse was there wasn’t a hell of a lot of it. It is slightly graphic when it happens, but the clips are very short – displaying just enough to get the story across to viewers without getting really dirty about it.
This girl really gets her flower opened..

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One such penetrative scene sees Minnie take a male school friend into a shed and have sex with him. As she lays there on the floor, the boy pounds her – hammering away as fast as he possibly can in such an animated way that it almost looks like he’s suffering some sort of epileptic fit as he’s doing it. It was hilarious.
The audience were howling with laughter, and it was brilliant to see a sex scene turn the tables and stir a reaction of sheer hilarity rather than coming across seedy or too passionate. This is how the director plays it; by bringing a fresh approach to otherwise very serious topics. A brilliant element used and very effective too.

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Reminiscent

This movie was reminiscent in two ways.

Firstly, it reminded me of 2001 hit Amélie. At times the screen was slightly misty; that classic dream-like atmosphere as the main character performs a taske of his or her daily life in a state of deep thought. Added to this was a touch of animation – various characters, flowers or animals popping up on screen with a shimmering effect. Almost endering, these animations brought colour and life to the screen as Minnie narrated her story. I think it was about 20 minutes into the movie when I first thought, “Amélie” – being immediately reminded of that lovely film I saw back in 2001 which was like nothing I’d seen before. The Diary of a Teenage Girl mirrored the same artistic style, its strange grainy pop-up cartoons again making the audience laugh out loud at what they were seeing.
Nicely subtle, yet very effective. I liked this.

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Secondly, it reminded me of being a teenager again.
Almost every aspect of the lead character’s life stirred a feeling of familiarity within me. Teenage crushes (I had more than my fair share of those), recording a daily diary of her life (I used to keep a diary), etc.
I could relate to the tiniest of details such as Minnie jumping up and down on her bed to her favourite song or pressing her face against the poster of her favourite musician on her bedroom wall.. (although mine was more lusting over a poster on my wall of Leonardo DiCaprio shortly after Titanic in 1997 – I have strange taste). And of course, the scene which proved growing teenagers have the wonderful ability to ‘shake it off’ instantly..
When Minnie and her friend Kimmie visit a local bar, they meet two guys which seems to be a perfect fit – so Minnie goes over and has a quiet word. And before you know it, the movie shifts into the next scene where both girls are on their knees (holding each others hands), performing oral sex on the guys (I must say, the head movements and sound effects are incredibly accurate).
Once again, the audience howled with laughter.
It then shifts to the next scene where the pair lay on Minnie’s bed with subdued facial expressions and calmly agree that they “probably” shouldn’t have done that, and promise not to do it again.

Brilliant.

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Again, this brought back memories (not performing oral on guys as a teenager. I waited until at least twenty) of being young and carefree. An age where me and friends would do things we weren’t proud of or simply disliked, but held the wonderful teenage quality of simply laughing it off, however big or small the situation. Life as a kid mean’t going home, closing the front door and opening it again the next morning with a fresh outlook. No regrets from the day before. The Diary of a Teenage Girl nails this emotion perfectly, I admired the honesty and truth which radiated from the screen the entire time. Brilliant.

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What Went Wrong

Difficult with particular movies sometimes, but I do need to analyse a movie from both sides; good and bad.
So what went wrong in this one?..

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Certain scenes of The Diary of a Teenage Girl were lengthy to the point of being slightly boring. The movie does deliver a nice variation of scenes, but ultimately, you’re sat watching a girl nail her mother’s boyfriend – then walking away from the situation – going back for more – walking away again. This is the main plot, but is so simplistic that the movie almost runs out of juice about an hour in.
Girl loses her virginity. Enjoys it. Fucks a few more times – continues to enjoy it. What more could the producers elaborate on? It’s such a bare structure that the movie almost collapses, saved only by portraying the things many teenage girls get up to; saved by its entertainment value.
This is a movie I could only watch once, due to its lack of high-speed action and knowing how it progresses. Another of those features which would be like re-watching an episode of Big Brother; watching the same people enter and exit a room, etc.

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The Diary of a Teenage Girl brought pleasure to 90% of the audience on Friday night. They were loving it, expressing their entertainment vocally and there was a lot of laughter going on. For what the movie lacks in story substance it more than makes up for in every other way; style of production, set and costume, the dynamic ensemble of cast, hilarious one-liner’s, etc. But its winning element is how honest and raw it is. Watching this movie was literally as though I had found a girl’s diary and was reading through it, it is very real.
And with great performances by all, this movie is a winner.
Give it a go, you may be quite surprised.

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This entry was posted on August 13, 2015 by .
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