The Diary of a Teenage Girl

Aug 26, 2015

It's graphic, funny ,and depressing in an entertaining way.

Diary of a Teen Age Girl

Grade: B

Director: Marielle Heller from Phoebe Gloeckner novel

Screenplay: Heller

Cast: Bel Powley, Alexander Skarsgard

Rating: R

Runtime: 102 min

by John DeSando

"I had sex today. Holy sh--!" Minnie (Bel Powley)

If you have a daughter around 15, may I suggest you see The Prophet, a wispy cartoon about a philosopher and his devoted town, because Diary of a Teen Age Girl will set you off balance for days. Oh, although it has cartoons, they include flaccid and erect penises. Still in all, it can be an amusing insight into a teen’s secret life, and by extension, all teens’.

Minnie, a San-Francisco teen having an affair with her mom’s (Kristen Wiig) vacuous35-year old lover, Monroe (Alexander Skarsgard), is sexually alert and ready. Although her affair causes her some trauma as she faces the emotional consequences, she is less affected by the other casual liaisons of all kinds in her relentless search to emulate the adults in her life but only to find the search as hollow as she sees it in them.

Her idol is cartoonist Aline Kominsky, whose work is similar to Minnie’s. The insertion of graphic, amusing cartoons helps relieve the depressing descent of Minnie into rampant sex with diminishing returns. As a true coming-of-age film, Diary of a teen age Girl is more about the girl morphing into a woman (she has the body but not the sensibility) through some dark but sometimes humorous encounters.

As a father of five daughters, I shuddered at some of the all-to-real encounters, but, hey, the film is about the ‘70’s in San Francisco when anything goes. If you strip away the liberal life style, the issues for a teen remain universal: How much can you rely on your parents for guidance? Do adults exploit children? Is same sex sex a kick? Do drugs help?

Another question might be asked: Why does Monroe not go to jail for statuary rape? Answer: This film is a fantasy of a teen’s first sex, and the rude outside world need not apply to be a part. It’s all a cartoon dream and humorous if you take it the right way.

John DeSando, a Los Angeles Press Club first-place winner for National Entertainment Journalism, hosts WCBE’s It’s Movie Time and co-hosts Cinema Classics. Contact him at