The Diary of a Teenage Girl

1 hour, 42 minutes

Watch it for...

A gutsy and exhilarating portrayal of a young woman’s coming of age, anchored by a fabulous Bel Powley who unapologetically tells her own story.


It’s 1976 in San Francisco, and wide-eyed Minnie (Bel Powley), a precocious 15-year-old, begins an audio-diary with her first entry declaring her desire to lose her virginity.  Her boozy mother, Charlotte (Kristen Wiig), is inattentive and self-absorbed. She’s dating Monroe (Alexander Sarsgaard), a handsome, but sleazy, lay-about.  Minnie and her friend, Kimmie, roam San Francisco having various escapades and sexual encounters, while Minnie also launches into an affair with her mother’s predatorial boyfriend.  It all sounds terribly perverse, but The Diary of a Teenage Girl firmly and non-judgmentally tells the story from Minnie’s point of view, ending with a reminder not to seek happiness through others’ approval but rather by loving yourself.

Annie's thoughts

The Diary of a Teenage Girl is a hilarious and blisteringly honest portrayal of a young woman navigating adolescence and its various ups and downs. I was mildly surprised by its frank approach to teen sexuality and some very unsympathetic characters, but I appreciated that it wasn’t sugar-coated.  This is decidedly not a PG-13 movie! I wouldn’t recommend it for anyone under 15. You can tell the film is in loving hands with its writer and director, as well as a confident, strong ensemble cast. I admired Bel Powley’s performance, as she anchored the move with grace and strength that belies her young age. Also, it was nice to see a departure from other movies that feature a female protagonist who is unsure of herself or seeks to please others. Minnie is a precocious but clever and vulnerable heroine. Finally, despite some seriously negligent behavior from the adults, there is still a clear beating heart behind the family dynamic that made it a fun watch.