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The Diary of a Teenage Girl is a 2015 American comedy-drama film written and directed by Marielle Heller, based on the hybrid novel of the same name by Phoebe Gloeckner. It stars Bel Powley as a 15-year-old girl who becomes sexually active by starting a relationship with her mother's boyfriend. It also stars Kristen Wiig, Alexander Skarsgård, Christopher Meloni, Quinn Nagle, and Austin Lyon. It premiered at the 2015 Sundance Film Festival and had a limited release on August 7, 2015 by Sony Pictures Classics.[2]

The Diary of a Teenage Girl
TheDiaryOfaTeenageGirl NewTheatricalPoster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byMarielle Heller
Produced by
  • Miranda Bailey
  • Anne Carey
  • Bert Hamelinck
  • Madeline Samit
Screenplay byMarielle Heller
Based onThe Diary of a Teenage Girl: An Account in Words and Pictures
by Phoebe Gloeckner
Music byNate Heller
CinematographyBrandon Trost
Edited by
Distributed bySony Pictures Classics
Release date
  • January 24, 2015 (2015-01-24) (Sundance)
  • August 7, 2015 (2015-08-07) (United States)
Running time
102 minutes[1][2]
CountryUnited States
Budget$2 million[3]
Box office$2.3 million[4]


In 1976 San Francisco, 15-year-old aspiring cartoonist Minnie begins keeping an audio diary. She is stirred by her awakening sexuality and wants to lose her virginity. She fears she may be unattractive.

When Minnie's bohemian mother Charlotte is too busy to go out with her boyfriend Monroe, she suggests he take Minnie out instead. At a bar, Minnie and Monroe flirt and she tells him she wants to sleep with him. They begin meeting at his apartment and having sex. She shares the details of her sexual experiences with her friend Kimmie, and records them in her audio diary. At a comic book store, Minnie sees cartoonist Aline Kominsky signing books. She mails Aline her first comic, about a woman walking through town.

Minnie sleeps twice with her schoolmate Ricky, but he finds her sexual enthusiasm intimidating. At a bar, Minnie and Kimmie decide to pose as prostitutes. They fellate two boys in the bathroom, but the next day agree it was a bad choice. Minnie's stepfather, Pascal, calls from New York City and invites Minnie to live with him, but she declines.

Charlotte loses her job as a librarian. Minnie and her younger sister Gretel ask Pascal for money, and though he is irritated, he sends the family a check. After a wild party, Minnie, Kimmie, and Monroe have a threesome. Kimmie later says it was a one-off as Minnie seems bothered by it. She adds, it's not as if Minnie loves Monroe. Minnie realises, and says, that she does love him. She becomes increasingly uncomfortable with her affair with Monroe and he keeps breaking it off saying it is wrong but then having sex with her. When she wants sex to continue he falls asleep, or pushes her down to give him a blow job. Her own satisfaction is a minor consideration. Minnie goes round to confront Monroe but he says he didn't sleep the night before and needs a nap. Minnie is annoyed but let's him climb into bed. She lies down too and then he coaxes Minnie into talking dirty about a guy she met at the cinema and then says would it hurt her if they were to have sex. They have sex and take acid together. Minnie sees herself covered in feathers and flying but Monroe has a bad trip, convinced they are being watched. During the trip he tells Minnie he loves her and she realizes that she no longer cares for him. Monroe begins making plans for them to be together when she is 18 and Minnie leaves him.

Charlotte grows suspicious of the relationship between Minnie and Monroe, but he convinces her that she is imagining things. Charlotte discovers Minnie's audio diary, and confronts Minnie and Monroe. She decides that Minnie and Monroe must now marry, which Monroe agrees to. Minnie runs away from home in disgust and begins seeing a risk-taking lesbian, Tabatha. When Tabatha brings her to a drug dealer, having told him that Minnie will have sex with him for the drugs, Minnie returns to her family.

Minnie finds a letter from Aline encouraging her to draw more comics. Selling her comics and zines on the beach, Minnie runs into Monroe. She is cold towards him, and they go their separate ways. Minnie reflects on her emotional growth and realizes that the only way to find happiness is by loving herself, not by depending on another person's affection.



Writer/director Heller received the graphic novel The Diary of a Teenage Girl as a Christmas gift from her younger sister in around 2007.[5]

Theatre production (2010)Edit

Before it was a film, Heller adapted Phoebe Gloeckner's graphic novel The Diary of a Teenage Girl into a play, in which she played the lead role. The piece of theater was originally conceived with Rachel Eckerling and then developed from 2007-2010 with Eckerling and Sarah Cameron Sunde. Sunde and Eckerling went on to co-direct the full production. The Diary of a Teenage Girl play premiered at 3LD Arts and Technology Center, produced by Aaron Louis in association with New Georges and The Essentials. The cast was as follows: Marielle Heller as Minnie, Michael Laurence as Monroe, Mariann Mayberry as Charlotte, Nell Mooney as Kimmie, and Jon Krupp (Arthur Aulisi in extension) as Pascal. Set design by Lauren Helpern, video design by C. Andrew Bauer, lighting design by Laura Mroczkowski, sound design by Marcelo Añez, costume design by Emily DeAngelis, prop design by Lauren Asta. The production design functioned as an immersive theatrical experience with a carpeted sunken living room and pillows for the audience to sit on, video and actors action took place in a full surround environment. It was critically acclaimed and ran for six weeks in March–April 2010. The success of the production helped convince Phoebe Gloeckner to give the film rights to Heller.


On January 10, 2014, Kristen Wiig, Alexander Skarsgård, and Bel Powley were reported to have joined the cast of the film as leads.[6] Caviar co-financed with Cold Iron Pictures, and co-produced with Archer Gray Productions.[7] Principal photography began on January 10, 2014 in San Francisco, California, and continued into February.[6][8][9]


The film had its world premiere at the Sundance Film Festival on January 24, 2015.[10] Shortly after it was announced Sony Pictures Classics had acquired distribution rights to the film.[3] The film was released in a limited release on August 7, 2015.[11]

In the UK, the film was the subject of some controversy because of the decision of the BBFC to give it an '18' rating.[12]


On film aggregator site Rotten Tomatoes, The Diary of a Teenage Girl holds a 93% approval rating based on 134 critics, with average rating of 7.9/10. The website's consensus reads: "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."[13] Metacritic gives the film a score of 87 out of 100, based on 35 critics, indicating "universal acclaim".[14]

Indiewire described the film as "genuine, poignant and hilarious."[15] The Guardian gave it five out of five stars and called it "morally complex and sometimes uncomfortably close to the bone, but also lushly bawdy and funny, and packaged together with an astonishing degree of cinematic brio."[16]

The movie was a box office bomb, averaging only $517 in the 795 theaters it played in on its opening weekend, the second-worst performance of 2015.[17]


At the 2015 Berlin International Film Festival, the film won the Grand Prix of Generation 14plus section for best feature-length film.[18]

At the 2015 Independent Spirit Awards, the film won Best First Feature and was nominated for Best First Screenplay and Bel Powley for Best Female Lead.[19]


  1. ^ "THE DIARY OF A TEENAGE GIRL (18)". British Board of Film Classification. May 21, 2015. Retrieved May 21, 2015.
  2. ^ a b "The Diary of a Teenage Girl (2015)". Box Office Mojo. April 5, 2015. Retrieved May 5, 2015.
  3. ^ a b Jr, Mike Fleming (January 27, 2015). "Sony Pictures Classics Confirms 'Diary Of A Teenage Girl' Deal – Sundance".
  4. ^ "The Diary of a Teenage Girl (2015)". The Numbers. Retrieved March 12, 2016.
  5. ^ Reilly, Phoebe. "Sundance 2015: Sex, Drugs and 'Diary of a Teenage Girl'". Rolling Stone. Retrieved February 26, 2015.
  6. ^ a b McNary, Dave (January 10, 2014). "Kristen Wiig, Alexander Skarsgard on 'Diary of a Teenage Girl'". Retrieved January 30, 2014.
  7. ^ "Powley to star in Diary". January 10, 2014. Retrieved January 30, 2014.
  8. ^ "Alexander Skarsgard spotted filming 'Diary of a Teenage Girl' in San Francisco". January 22, 2014. Retrieved January 30, 2014.
  9. ^ @Chris_Meloni (February 4, 2014). "In San Fran shooting 'The Diary of A Teenage Girl' with #KristenWiig & #AlexSkarsgard. Love this place" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  10. ^ "THE DIARY OF A TEENAGE GIRL". Sundance Institute.
  11. ^ "The Diary Of A Teenage Girl (Australia Trailer 1)".
  12. ^ Reporter, Laura Silver BuzzFeed News; UK. ""The Diary Of A Teenage Girl" Star Bel Powley Said Teens Should Get A Fake ID To See The Film".
  13. ^ The Diary of a Teenage Girl at Rotten Tomatoes
  14. ^ The Diary of a Teenage Girl at Metacritic
  15. ^ Jhaveri, Anisha. "Sundance Review: 'The Diary of a Teenage Girl' Unlocks the Secrets of Adolescence". Indiewire. Retrieved January 29, 2015.
  16. ^ Felperin, Leslie. "The Diary of a Teenage Girl review – a scaldingly honest coming-of-age comedy". the Guardian. Retrieved August 18, 2015.
  18. ^ Roxborough, Scott (February 13, 2015). "Berlin: 'A Diary of a Teenage Girl' Wins Generation Sidebar". Retrieved February 15, 2015.
  19. ^ "Spirit Awards: 'The Diary of a Teenage Girl' Wins Best First Feature". February 27, 2016. Retrieved September 16, 2016.

External linksEdit