Directed by newcomer Marielle Heller, the film depicts the blossoming sexuality of 15-year-old Minnie Goetze (23-year-old British actress Bel Powley, in a breakout role) against the backdrop of 1970s San Francisco. Minnie makes detailed logs of her life, writing, drawing, and recording confessions in her tape recorder — including ones about her budding affair with her mother’s freewheeling boyfriend (Alexander Skarsgård).
Kristen Wiig received early kudos in the role of Minnie’s partying mom who is changing with the times. Echoing the critical consensus, Yahoo Movies’ Brian Raftery wrote that the real strength of Diary “comes from Powley, whose voice, body, and wide-eyed gaze connect the character to the viewer with a sometimes unsettling intimacy.”
Based on an autobiographical graphic novel by Phoebe Gloeckner, The Diary of a Teenage Girl opens in select theaters on Aug. 7.