Sunday, August 16, 2015
"The Diary of a Teenage Girl": what about "age of consent"? I'll pour cold water over her fun
“The Diary of a Teenage Girl”, by Marielle Heller, is getting a lot of hype from the previews, based on Phoebe Gloeckner’s novel, set in San Francisco in the 1970s.
The world it presented wasn’t that interesting. The film stock was chosen to make the world look fuzzy with colors muted. The environment in a City with Harvey Milk at the time is totally ignored.
Minnie (Bel Powley) is a 15 year old teenage “artist” living with divorced mom (Kristen Wiig), The real actress for Minnie is 22, and that’s a good thing. Minnie starts coming on to his mother’s 35-year-old boy friend Monroe (Alexander Skarsgard). He gives in to temptation, repeatedly, even with some misgivings. When she visits his boat, he starts behaving more responsibly. But, what he has done could be prosecuted under California law, where the age of consent is 18. But I guess you aren’t supposed to think of that. In the 1970s, law enforcement was much less interested in this issue than it is today.
Minnie is quite explicit at times in describing her attraction to Monroe, more in terms of what he “has” than what he “is”. The film turns into a soft-core porn, almost a toned down but enlongated Linda Lovelace trip from the early 70s. At times, her dad Pascal (Christopher Meloni) tries to intervene, mildly.
Finally, mom starts talking about Monroe’s marrying her because he’s “porked” her.
The best character may be Willie, played by Domino the Cat.
My own screenplay short, “The Sub”, had shown a gay teacher taken in by an adult-looking mature teen. It created controversy in its day.
The official site is here (Sony Pictures Classics).
I saw the film at the AMC Shirlington, before a small Saturday night audience which did laugh with the film.
Picture: Palm Springs, my trip, 2012.