Marielle Heller + Brandon Trost – Still from Diary of a Teenage Girl (2015)

If you haven’t already, you really, really, really, really, really (that’s 5 reallys) should see Diary of a Teenage Girl.

The premise of the film is a fifteen year-old named Minnie (an excellent Bel Powley) carries on a relationship with her mother’s boyfriend Monroe (Alexander Skarsgård).

If you’re thinking isn’t that crossing some kind of uncrossable line? Well, Powley was twenty-one during production. Yes, she’s playing younger but the film is carefully structure to introduce us to Minnie as a precocious teenager. We’re given a glimpse of who she is and how she thinks, responds & interacts with the world around her before anything carnal unfolds.

Minnie’s response to her initial sexual explorations is a natural extension of her personality. And it’s frankly fascinating how the movie uses the fleeting–and yes explicit (but tastefully so) sex scenes–as depth charges to test and more thoroughly define her character.

That there was no outrage over this is likely due to the fact that the makers carefully avoid any sort of obvious or easy imposition of moral prudery–in fact there’s a feeling that it was intended as a sort of quasi-fairy tale as to what the world might be like if the world weren’t so sexually repressed. But, it’s also notable as the film was directed by a woman.

Also, Marielle Heller was one of the few women to direct a film with studio backing. That it’s one of the five best movies of the year, should speak volumes about why we need more women filmmakers.

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