Diary of a Teenage Girl: Highlight of Sundance Film Fest

A highlight of the 2015 Sundance Film Fest, The Diary of a Teenage Girl is based on Phoebe Gloeckner’s novel of the same name, described as one of the most brutally honest, shocking, tender and beautiful portrayals of sexual awakenings.

Sony Classics will release this impressive debut in July as counterprogramming to Hollywood’s big guns.

Like most teenage girls, Minnie Goetze (Bel Powley) is longing for love, acceptance and a sense of purpose in the world. Minnie begins a complex love affair with her mother’s (Kristen Wiig) boyfriend, “the handsomest man in the world,” Monroe Rutherford (Alexander Skarsgård). What follows is a sharp, funny and provocative account of one girl’s sexual and artistic awakening.

Set in 1976 San Francisco, the tale begins at the crossroads of the fading hippie movement and the dawn of punk rock. News commentary of the Patty Hearst trial echoes in the background, as Minnie’s young expressive eyes soak in a drug-laden city in transition—where teenage rebellion and adult responsibility clash in characters lost and longing. Minnie’s hard-partying mother and absent father have left her rudderless.

She first finds solace in Monroe’s seductive smile, and then on the backstreets of the city by the bay. Animation serves a refuge from the confusing and unstable world around her. Minnie emerges defiant— taking command of her sexuality and drawing on her newfound creative talents to reveal truths in the kind of intimate and vivid detail that can only be found in the pages of a teenage girl’s diary.

Writer-director Marielle Heller has transferred to the screen this diary with a richly comedic, deeply personal vision, and nonjudgmental approach.  In her feature directorial debut, Heller brings Gloeckner’s book to life with fearless performances, a stirring score, inventive graphic novel-like animation sequences, imagination, humor and heart. It is a coming of age story that is as poignant as it is unsettling.

 

Cast

Minnie Goetze Bel Powley

Monroe Alexander Skarsgård

Pascal Christopher Meloni

Charlotte Goetze Kristen Wiig

 

Credits

Writer/Director Marielle Heller

Based on the book by Phoebe Gloeckner

Producers Anne Carey, Bert Hamelinck, Madeline Sami, Miranda Bailey

Co-Producer Debbie Brubaker

Executive Producers Michael Sagol, Amanda Marshall, Jorma Taccone, Amy Nauiokas

Cinematographer Brandon Trost

Production Designer Jonah Markowitz

Editors Marie-Hélène Dozo, Koen Timmerman

Original Score by Nate Heller

Animation by Sara Gunnarsdottir