Questions about its certification aside, writer-director Marielle Heller’s Sundance hit The Diary of a Teenage Girl succeeds thanks to its honest, intelligent script and a bold, star-making performance from newcomer Bel Powley.
Its period setting of 1970s San Francisco is wonderfully evoked, as clichés of the well-worn coming-of-age genre are almost entirely avoided by a gutsy narrative and some flawed but deeply human characters.
The magnetic chemistry between Powley and co-star Alexander Skarsgård utterly sells their relationship as we explore themes of sexuality, obsession and the evasiveness of love. On this evidence, Heller and Powley are definitely names to watch.
Personal, daring, and with much to say, here’s hoping DoaTG can become a trailblazer for female-voiced coming-of-age tales in a genre in which they remain badly under-represented.
DIRECTOR: Marielle Heller
WRITER: Marielle Heller
CAST: Bel Powley, Alexander Skarsgård, Kristen Wiig
SYNOPSIS: An aspiring 15-year-old cartoonist in 1970s San Francisco enters into an affair with her mother’s boyfriend.
A preview screening of The Diary Of A Teenage Girl was kindly provided by Vertigo Films and Grapevine Digital.