The Diary Of A Teenage Girl

Critics Consensus

Boldly unconventional and refreshingly honest, Diary of a Teenage Girl is a frank coming-of-age story that addresses its themes -- and its protagonist -- without judgment.



Total Count: 161


Audience Score

User Ratings: 11,970
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Movie Info

Like most teenage girls, Minnie Goetze (Bel Powley) 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. (C) Sony Classics


Bel Powley
as Minnie Goetze
Alexander Skarsgård
as Monroe Rutherford
Kristen Wiig
as Charlotte
Abby Wait
as Gretel
Giovanni Miller
as Highschool Classmate
Samantha Hyde
as High School Student
David Fine
as Old Hippie
Natalie Stephany Aguilar
as Classmate/School Girl
Drew Benda
as Dive Bar Patron
Robert Cure
as Bartender
Charles Lewis III
as Cool English Teacher
Carole Morey
as Student
Alex Szoenyi
as Comic Book Store Patron
Shruti Tewari
as Charlotte's Friend
Tuesday Thomas
as Prostitute
Etienne Vick
as Bar Patron
Mike Whitaker
as Bar Patron
Steven Wiig
as Streetcar Rider
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News & Interviews for The Diary Of A Teenage Girl

Critic Reviews for The Diary Of A Teenage Girl

All Critics (161) | Top Critics (41) | Fresh (152) | Rotten (9)

  • Shocking but genuine, poignant and hilarious, Diary of a Teenage Girl could well become one of the more memorable entries in the Sundance Film Festival's U.S. competition.

    Oct 27, 2017 | Rating: A- | Full Review…
  • Most crucially, Heller is more interested in bearing witness to adolescent experience than passing judgment -- and this approach extends to her handling of the adults around Minnie.

    Sep 30, 2015 | Rating: 3/5 | Full Review…
  • Powerful, exhausting, ecstatic, twisted and unerringly honest, "The Diary of a Teenage Girl" is a rare film indeed, a look at a young girl's messy coming of age told completely from the young girl's point of view.

    Aug 28, 2015 | Rating: A | Full Review…

    Tom Long

    Detroit News
    Top Critic
  • Writer/director Marielle Heller, in her captivating debut film "The Diary of a Teenage Girl," hits exactly the right tone for a complicated balancing act, and for a film that could very easily have gone wrong.

    Aug 20, 2015 | Rating: 3.5/4 | Full Review…
  • "The Diary of a Teenage Girl" is a breakthrough moment in the culture in that it depicts youthful female sexuality ... not just with the unapologetic frankness the boys usually get, but with an awareness of all the places a girl's urges will take her ...

    Aug 20, 2015 | Rating: 4/4 | Full Review…

    Ty Burr

    Boston Globe
    Top Critic
  • An honest and personal and unblurred examination (even through that druggy blur) of a tricky voyage into womanhood.

    Aug 20, 2015 | Rating: 3.5/4 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for The Diary Of A Teenage Girl

  • Sep 30, 2017
    Bold, direct and taking its teenage protagonist seriously through good and decisions, this is a refreshingly different take on a coming of age story. The acting is top notch, especially Powley creates a very unique character: Prudes will have a hard time with every second scene here, but everyone with a wild teenage hood or an open mind will certainly appreciate such an unusual look at what growing up looks like.
    Jens S Super Reviewer
  • Oct 26, 2016
    Familiar coming of age story with more cringeable moments than the usual and a few wtf's. I liked the art parts and though some of it was slightly disturbing, it was well done.
    Nicki M Super Reviewer
  • Jun 16, 2016
    It's San Francisco in the 1970's, and a single mom's bohemian lifestyle leads to one of her boyfriend's having a sexual relationship with her teenage daughter, who opens the film proudly proclaiming "I had sex today ... Holy shit." Despite the statutory rape, drug use, and free use of profanity which may put some people off, this coming-of-age movie is empowering, with several positive messages - embrace your creativity, maintain your self-worth, remember that enjoying sex as a woman doesn't make you a slut, experimentation is ok and you can run away from bad situations, and through it all, you don't need someone else to love you, but you have to love yourself. The animation that is woven into the movie is beautiful, such as when the girl is on an LSD drip and imagines herself to have wings and to be hovering above the room. Her diary is also sometimes quite poetic, for example, "It would've been better to have slept and dreamed than to watch the night pass and the slow moon sink." Bel Powley turns in a great performance, beautifully balancing the girl and emerging woman within, expressing herself with her eyes, and delivering truth in a wide range of emotional moments, some of which are fairly new ground for mainstream cinema. There is quite a bit of nudity, which can be uncomfortable as the character is 15 years old (though Powley herself was 23), but it doesn't at all feel like exploitation in director Marielle Heller's hands, and seeing a body type that is different from the prescribed Hollywood and fashion-industry definition of 'beauty' is refreshing - for Powley truly is beautiful. Alexander Skarsgård, who fans of 'True Blood' will recognize, is suitably "confused", conflicted, childish, manipulative, and licentious all at once, and his nuanced performance was very important to making the movie successful. Kristen Wiig is solid as the mom who dispenses inappropriate advice, and who's partying ways don't exactly serve as a great role model. I like how the girl explores her sexuality as a boy might ("Do other people think about fucking as much as I do?"), and doesn't end up pregnant or crushed, even though the object of her affections for much of the movie is 20 years older, which, while cringe-inducing, feels brutally honest. And, in the end, despite how the adults in her life have let her down, and despite all of the difficulties in growing up, we know that she's not only going to be all right, but that she's going to fly.
    Antonius B Super Reviewer
  • May 19, 2016
    Based off the novel of the same name, written by Phoebe Gloeckner, "The Diary of a Teenage Girl" is a very offbeat indie film about an 18-year-old girl who loses her virginity to her mother's new boyfriend. If that already sounds hard to watch for you, then I can tell you right now, this film is absolutely not for you. There are times where even the biggest of cinema fans may feel slightly awkward while viewing this picture. This film follows Minnie, who is an extreme introvert who will take on any situation as it presents itself. As she has very virginity stripped away, she continues to do so, becoming the school slut and following a path that pretty much very viewer will be against. Having a plot like that is very ballsy, as there is really no levity here. Is this a good film? Yes it is, but I found myself almost disliking it more than actually enjoying what was being presented to me. At a mere 102 minutes, I found myself checking my watch many times, as the film dives too far into sexuality to really grasp what this character is going through. There are many times (although Bel Powley does a great job of portraying her) that Minnie becomes very whiny and annoying. Again, this has nothing to do with the portrayal of the character, but more of the character herself. I found myself disliking every time she was on screen, which is 95% of the film. Due to the fact that this film feels very gross and drab, the simple camerawork and subtle visuals were really what stood out to me. Having her thoughts told through animations around her was very unique and that was easily my favorite part about this film. I understand that many girls have probably gone through a phase like this, and few have probably even gone this far or further, but for this particular character, I did not buy the arc she went through, because it felt incomplete and that she still has a very dark/sexual future ahead of her. With a very abrupt ending that leaves you wishing you had more, even though I did not want to see anymore, "The Diary of a Teenage Girl" is a very uncomfortable film to watch, but a very well-made one. This film may have not been my cup of tea, but I found myself believing the actions of Monroe (Minnie's mothers boyfriend) to be the most realistic, even though he is easily one of the sleaziest characters in the film. Kristen Wiig delivers a surprisingly great performance, but aside from shock value, her character does not do much here. In the end, I found myself admiring this film the entire way through, but it is very uncomfortable to sit through. With interesting visuals, a great cast, and a plot that definitely does what it sets out to do, "The Diary of a Teenage Girl" is solid filmmaking, but nothing more in my opinion.
    KJ P Super Reviewer

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