In years past, the post-Hot Docs watchlist would be a pretty lengthy list. This year it’s much more meagre thanks to my favorite basketball team going on a pretty deep playoff run. There’s a lot less time for movies when your eyes are focused on three hours of hoops every other night.

Thing is, I don’t want it to end just yet – so here’s hoping I have another two weeks of distraction ahead of me beginning tomorrow afternoon!

#52FilmsByWomen continued the last few weeks thanks to Hot Docs selections NUTS! and BEWARE THE SLENDERMAN. This week though, I returned to the world of fiction and pointed my sights at Marielle Heller’s THE DIARY OF A TEENAGE GIRL.

Heller is a talent that is new to me, and a quick glance around the internet tells me that she has mostly been working as an actor up until recently, with THE DIARY OF A TEENAGE GIRL serving as her directing debut. I sincerely hope that it’s the first entry in a long and fruitful career.

The film is about the coming-of-age of Minnie; a 15-year-old girl in 1970’s San Francisco played by Bel Powley. A budding artist, and a restless soul, she catches the eye of her mother’s boyfriend (Alexander Skarsgård), and soon finds herself both sexually curious and artistically inspired. Likewise, like most teenagers – and especially teenage girls – deeply mixed-up with what their bodies and minds are telling them.

DIARY includes a lot of very frank sexual thought. Thoughts that scores of teenage girls have had throughout history, I’m sure, but haven’t been given a proper voice until recently. It’s strange that we got to this point, but it’s also no surprise considering how the how world got to this point that it’s at.


What’s amazing about DIARY is the way it feels like a beautiful collaboration of voices. The movie is based on the semi-autobiographical graphic novel by Phoebe Gloeckner. Considering it’s her story, it’s fair to say that we’re really listening to her thoughts throughout this film. But then one must consider what Marielle Heller brings by breathing visual life to the story with her camera lens, and likewise what Powley brings in her performance.

In essence, we have three women coming together to bring one young woman’s story to life. They each add their own brushstrokes to this antsy and honest portrayal. A true collaboration. It’s left me deeply interested in finding more work by all three, and likewise curious about how many more untold stories exist in the world like this.

THE DIARY OF A TEENAGE GIRL likely would have made my list for the best films of 2015 had I seen it in time, but that’s what leaves me thankful for this project: it keeps pointing me towards the stories I might miss, and the voices I want to hear more from.


Here’s the week at hand…


WEINER – This movie should be a case study for body language in relationships.
CONTEMPORARY COLOR – Gorgeous. Maybe even better than the real thing.
BEWARE THE SLENDERMAN – Back in my day, I just thought the boogieman was going to get me…not that he wanted me to stab people.
CAPTAIN AMERICA: CIVIL WAR – One of the best films Marvel’s done, for sure.
HIP HOP EVOLUTION – If I ever got a time machine, I’d travel back to 1970’s New York.
BEST AND MOST BEAUTIFUL THINGS – A beautiful way to end Hot Docs
Streaming/Blu-Rays/DVD’s I’ve Never Seen
THE LEGACY OF FRIDA KAHLO – A spotty doc, but one that keft me interested in what my possessions say about me.
LEMONADE – Without this film, the album still would have been amazing. With it, though…
NUTS! – aka “The Man Who Dared With Goats”
FEAR ITSELF – Few meditations on horror have expressed my own feelings of horror so elegantly.
THEM! (1954) – Gotta love some giant ants in the middle of a stretch of nonfiction.
ROXANNE – Steve Martin’s bit about the great idea might be the best thing I’ve heard all year. Why did it take me so long to watch this?
THE DIARY OF A TEENAGE GIRL – Is it wrong that I really feel like taking a bath now?
THE MAN FROM U.N.C.L.E. – Possibly the most stylish movie to come out of 2015. I swear this thing is underrated.


Streaming/Blu-Rays/DVD’s I’ve Seen Before
THE BIG LEBOWSKI – xbecasue, that’s, y’know, your opinion, man.
CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE WINTER SOLDIER – This still stands as the best film Marvel has done to date.
AVENGERS: AGE OF ULTRON – I now wish we’d been able to skip this entry and have ran with CIVIL WAR instead as “Avnegers 2”
MEAN STREETS – Remember what The Queen said.
CAROL – Breaking News: This film is Still gorgeous.



Boxscore for The Year
85 First-Timers, 58 Re-Watched
27 Screenings
143 Movies in Total

How’s about you – seen anything good?