On V.E. Day in 1945, as peace extends across Europe, Princesses Elizabeth and Margaret are allowed out to join the celebrations. It is a night full of excitement, danger and the first flutters of romance.
High schooler Greg, who spends most of his time making parodies of classic movies with his co-worker Earl, finds his outlook forever altered after befriending a classmate who has just been diagnosed with cancer.
The lives of several women who have little in common except for their boss, who sexually harasses them. Before those troubling encounters, though, how did their personal histories affect the way they dealt with his harassment?
It successfully goes to the edge without going over it.
San Francisco, 1976: Minnie (Bel Powley) is a 15-year old who initiates a sexual affair with the boyfriend (Alexander Skarsgard) of her mother (Kristen Wiig).
"Diary" has much in common with "Fish Tank", a 2009 British film in which Michael Fassbender played the role of the boyfriend. But "Diary" can't be accused of copying the other film as it is based on the biographical graphic novel by Phoebe Gloeckner. Each film has its own strength and uniqueness.
There is much discomfort in the early sex scenes for obvious reasons. At least, Powley was an adult when the film was being made. But while the film clearly goes into taboo territory, it does so in a way that surprisingly comes off as moving rather than cheap and exploitative.
The story is told through Minnie's (Gloeckner's) perspective so, as it turned out, there seem to be no belief in victims or predators. While there are consequences for the very unconventional liaison, there is no sense of melodramatic punishment that would be expected in other current stories.
Director Marielle Heller does a great job in recreating the carefree attitude of San Francisco in the 1970s as she does in getting fine work from Powley and Skarsgard. The constant partying and indulgences in sex, booze, and drugs was simply the way of life back then and the lightness in attitude comes through in a way that is almost nostalgic. This attitude would crash later after the onset of AIDS, the Reagan years, and real estate speculation (the single-parent family lived in a big apartment in downtown San Francisco on a librarian's salary - something that couldn't happen today). There is also the enjoyable bonus of animated images that accompany Minnie's thoughts and reflections.
This movie succeeds in taking a controversial subject and expressing it convincingly with heart.
4 of 5 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?
| Report this