The Diary of a Teenage Girl (a J!-ENT Blu-ray Disc Review)
January 15, 2016 by Dennis Amith
Marie Heller’s “The Diary of a Teenage Girl” is a unique and entertaining film about sexual discovery and features an amazing performance by Bel Powley. Definitely a film worth checking out!
Image courtesy of (C) 2015 Diary the Movie, LLC. All Rights Reserved.
TITLE: The Diary of a Teenage Girl
FILM RELEASE: 2015
DURATION: 102 Minutes
BLU-RAY DISC INFORMATION: 1080p High Definition (2:42:1 Aspect Ratio), English, Portuguese 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio, English Audio Description Track, French and Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital, Subtitles: English, English SDH, French, Portuguese, Spanish
COMPANY: Sony Pictures Classics
RATED: R (Strong Sexual Content including dialogue, graphic nudity, drug use, language)
Release Date: January 19, 2016
Based on the Novel by Phoebe Gloeckner
Directed by Marielle Heller
Screenplay by Marielle Heller
Executive Producers: Amanda Marshall, Amy Nauiokas, Michael Sagol, Jorma Taccone
Produced by Miranda Bailey, Anne Carey, Bert Hamelinck, Madeline Samit
Co-Producer: Debbie Brubaker, Corentine De Saedeleer
Associate Producer: Shani Geva
Music by Nate Heller
Cinematography by Brandon Trost
Edited by Marie-Helene Dozo, Koen Timmerman
Casting by Nina Henninger
Production Design by Jonah Markowitz
Art Direction by Emily K. Rolph
Set Decoration by Susan Alegria
Costume Design by Carmen Grande
Bel Powley as Minnie
Kristen Wiig as Charlotte
Abby Wait as Gretel
Alexander Skarsgard as Monroe
Miranda Bailey as Andrea
Carson D. Mell as Michael Cocaine
John Parsons as Burt
Madeleine Waters as Kimmie
Austin Lyon as Ricky Wasserman
Quinn Nagle as Chuck
Willie as Domino the Cat
In 1976 San Francisco, Minnie Goetze (Bel Powley) is growing up at the crossroads of the fading hippie movement and the dawn of punk rock. Like most teenage girls, Minnie 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, without judgment.
From actress/filmmaker Marielle Heller (“MacGruber”, “A Walk Among the Tombstones”) comes her indie directorial debut “The Diary of a Teenage Girl”.
Having won various awards including “Best New Filmmaker” at the Boston Society of Film Critics Awards, “Best Feature Film” and the “Berlin International Film Festival” and more.
The film stars Bel Powley (“A Royal Night Out”, “Side by Side”), Kristen Wiig (“Bridesmaids”, “The Martian”, “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty”), Alexander Skarsgaard (“True Blood”, “Battleship”, “Generation Kill”, “Melancholia”), Christopher Meloni (“Law and Order: Special Victims Unit”, “Man of Steel”, “42”, “Bound”) and Abby Wait.
And now “The Diary of the Teenage Girl” will be released on Blu-ray courtesy of Sony Pictures Classics.
The coming-of-age film is set in 1976 and begins with an introduction to Minnie (portrayed by Bel Powley) and is often thinking about wanting to lose her virginity, but at the same time, having esteem issues of feeling that she is unattractive.
Minnie and her young sister Gretal (portrayed by Abigail Wait) live with their Bohemian mother Charlotte (portrayed by Kristen Wiig). And Charlotte is often partying with her boyfriend Monroe Rutherford (portrayed by Alexander Skarsgard) and often drunk or on drugs.
As Minnie is an inspiring cartoonist, she is inspired by cartoonist Aline Kominsky. And as she starts to hang out with Monroe, she does all she can to attract him and make him have sex with her. But after sex, she often wonders if there is more to the sex and is wanting to have more with Monroe, despite him being his mother’s boyfriend.
But as Minnie wants to learn more about her sexuality, will this sexual fling with her mother’s boyfriend continue and for how long? And through these experiences, what will Minnie discover about herself?
“The Diary of a Teenage Girl” is presented in 1080p High Definition (2:40:1 aspect ratio).
The film features a combination of the film and animated scenes (often when Minnie is thinking and recording herself) but overall picture quality is good. Because the film tries to energetic a look to the past, where intentional softness is used in the film to make the setting of the ’70s feel realistic.
For the most part, picture quality is good and I didn’t notice any issues with artifacts.
AUDIO & SUBTITLES:
“The Diary of a Teenage Girl” is presented in English and Portuguese 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio, French and Spanish Audio Description Track 5.1 Dolby Digital. The film is primarily dialogue and music score driven with surround channels more geared towards the ambiance. But overall audio is crystal clear.
Subtitles are in English, English SDH, French, Portuguese and Spanish.
“The Diary of a Teenage Girl” comes with the following special features:
- Audio Commentary – Audio commentary with director Marie Heller, actress Bel Powley and actor Alexander Skarsgard.
- Deleted Scenes – (5:25) Featuring three deleted scenes.
- Marielle’s Journey: Bringing the Diary to Life – (23:07) How the novel became a film and interviews with director Marie Heller and the cast.
- Q&A with Marielle Heller, Alexander Skarsgard and Bel Powley – (25:19) Q&A from the Los Angeles Film Festival.
- Theatrical Trailer – Theatrical trailer for “The Diary of a Teenage Girl.
“The Diary of a Teenage Girl” comes with a slipcover and Ultraviolet code.
Far often, the majority of the films dealing with coming-of-age revolve around boys discovering love and also their sexuality.
With “The Diary of a Teenage Girl”, the film focuses on a female perspective and it’s perhaps a film that genuinely feels natural, neither unnatural and literally explores the character of Minnie and the self-esteem issues of her body and her thoughts about sex.
With the backdrop of the mid-’70s and the exploration of sexuality of a young woman, Bel Powley’s performance of a young woman wanting to have a sexual connection with her mother’s boyfriend is rather interesting. Especially knowing that things are not going to go as well when caught.
Actor Alexander Skarsgard does a wonderful job of playing the role of Minnie’s attraction, but also her mother’s boyfriend. A person that lives a bohemian lifestyle where everything goes and life is pretty much drinking, doing drugs and partying, he’s a person without true boundaries.
Kristen Wiig does a fine job in a non-comedy role and showing us that she can do serious character roles (2015 also featured Kristen Wiig in a serious role for “Nasty Baby”), but for this film, a mother who also lives a bohemian lifestyle, loving to party, drink and do drugs in front of her children. But starts to notice her boyfriend’s attention towards her oldest daughter.
I do commend director Marielle Heller and crew for creating a film in 24 days in San Francisco on such a small budget. The film looks great but I also enjoy the fact that she was determined on creating a film after enjoying the original book and remaining persistent in getting the rights for the film adaptation and exploring a young woman’s sexual and artistic discovery.
It’s a story which many of us can relate to. Feelings of inadequacy, feelings of self-doubt and also those awkward moments which we have experienced in our life. If anything, the performances sold the film and no doubt made this film much more enjoyable for me.
As for the Blu-ray release, as the film utilizes a bit of softness in order to create a ’70s atmosphere, picture quality is good and lossless audio features crystal clear dialogue and music. Also, includes are informative featurettes including an entertaining LA Film Festival Q&A and audio commentary.
Overall, Marie Heller’s “The Diary of a Teenage Girl” is a unique and entertaining film about sexual discovery and features an amazing performance by Bel Powley. Definitely a film worth checking out!
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