August 03, 2015

The Diary Of A Teenage Girl: Film review

Screen Shot 2015-08-03 at 22.26.06

Tonight the lovely Liv Purvis of the blog What Olivia Did invited some fellow bloggers along to Soho Screening Rooms to watch a film I’ve been dying to see: The Diary Of A Teenage Girl. As someone who a) used to be a teenage girl b) reads her teenage diary out loud in pubs as part of Cringe UK and c) is writing a young adult book, I was super dooper excited to see this, especially as the rating (18) has had some controversy in the media this week.

You see, the film is based on the graphic novel (of the same name) by Phoebe Gloeckner, which tells the story of a 15 year old girl called Minnie Goetze who has a sexual relationship with someone she probably shouldn’t. (I’m paranoid of giving away spoilers!). The reason there was some questioning over the 18 rating is because of that sheer irony; the fact the young teenage girls who this film is for, can’t even go and see it. This makes me feel like there is some shame around young females having sex still. That is not a great message. The main protagonist is fifteen, and yet fifteen year old girls cannot legally see the film. The same target audience who enjoyed the novel are “not allowed” to see the film version.


I read a brilliant piece on Indy Voices by June Eric-Udorie who explained the situation:

“this film – written, produced and directed by women – was refused a 15 certificate by an all-male panel at the British Board of Film Classification last week. The BBFC stated the 18 certificate was given due to “strong sex scenes including mechanical thrusting.”

All-male panel. Cool.

Quite simply, this film is for teenage girls and anyone who used to be a teenager (so: anyone). I felt tears welling up in the corner of my eyes because I felt sad for Minnie, like I felt sad for my 15 year old self. I suddenly had those teenage feeling come flooding back: being 15 was totally completely UTTERLY exhausting. I too stood in front of the mirror naked prodding at my lumpy bits. I too remember squabbling with my sister but then also running into her room crying and wanting a hug. I too thought that most things didn’t have consequences.

I really do remember the awkwardness of that age: like a time I was at a party with one of my older sisters when I was 15 and vividly remember saying: “I hate being 15. I feel like a no-one. I’m not young enough to be care-free, and I’m not old enough to be able to join in with grown-up stuff.” I felt old enough to wear crop tops and try my first cigarette, yet I wasn’t allowed to stay up partying with the adults, and was still treated like a child.  It was just a bit “meh”. I spelt a lot of time in my bedroom making things, a lot like the character in this film.

I love that this film has a strong central character; a girl who is in control of her life, even though she is full of teenage hormones and insecurities. She is more of an adult that a lot of the actual “adults” in the film. She is totally honest about the power and weakness of being a girl-not-yet-a-woman (ALRIGHT BRITNEY!) I like her progression throughout the film, she really does grow and by the end, you feel like she will be totally OK. She is creative, brave, dramatic, mature, baby-like, sad, scared, sexual, angry, hopeful: she is all the things that teenage girls are.


In a nutshell: definitely go see this film, especially as you get to see Queen Kristin Wiig in a more serious role.

No Responses

  1. Liv says:

    You are SO on it woman, it was so lovely seeing you tonight (I’m spoilt with the Gannon this week) and so glad you enjoyed it (like, you know, I directed it, or something) xxx

  2. Kara says:

    I loved seeing it last night as well, both through the funny moments and omg-can’t-watch-this moment (and Kristen Wiig nailed it so much). But I agree, can’t believe they’ve made it an 18, when so many other films that are darker, or psychologically damaging make it to 15. It’s for teens to relate, typical all male hatred of strong female sex scenes.

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