“The Diary of a Teenage Girl” tells a morally quite complicated and tough story. While everything that happens here is consensual, it’s still illegal, and one could very well argue that even though Minnie initiates everything that’s happening here, Monroe, as responsible adult, would have been morally obliged to hit the brakes and stop her. Then again, apart from the fact that he’s her mother’s boyfriend, one could also ask if/why his age is that much of a deal (morally; leaving legal issues aside for now); I mean, if he would have been seventeen, and the exact same things would have taken place, we wouldn’t even have this discussion. Thus, I felt that “The Diary of a Teenage Girl” raised some interesting questions – without providing easy answers.
I guess some will be put off by its moral ambiguity, but I for one loved it exactly for that. “The Diary of a Teenage Girl” is just so much more honest and uninhibited compared to the majority of coming-of-age dramas that come out of Hollywood. Fact of the matter is: At that age we’re all hit by raging hormones, and while not all of us might (re)act to that in the same way, sex nevertheless is a huge part of teenage life. “The Diary of a Teenage Girl” deals with exactly that – Minnie’s sexual awakening, curiousness, and yearning – and it does so with refreshing bluntness. It’s further enhanced by Bel Powley’s incredibly raw, unvarnished and impressive performance as Minnie. Kirsten Wiig and Alexander Skarsgard are great, too, but she easily outshines both of them. I also quite liked the (crude) animated bits, as well as the (often naughty and/or dark) humor that permeates the movie. And I really really loved Minnie’s realization at the end. The only thing that I’d criticize is that as soon as Minnie starts recording her (sexual) adventures, you know what’s ultimately going to happen with these tapes. And as much as I understand that it was needed as a plot device (and can understand her desire to document her experiences), it seems slightly careless of her, especially considering that what Monroe has been doing with her – any moral questions aside – is illegal. However, I had far too good a time with this movie to be deterred by that.