THE DIARY OF A TEENAGE GIRL

Directed by Marielle Heller

Self-absorbed, stubborn and terribly insecure: weren’t we all like this as teenagers? Minnie, Diary‘s protagonist, is all of these things to an almost excruciating level, and for almost two hours, I saw a part of myself that I’m so terrifyingly glad to have now grown out of. Diary, first and foremost, doesn’t hold back any punches. It doesn’t try to make you love the characters with forced sentimentality or catharsis, or sugarcoat any of the situations Minnie experiences: she makes mistakes, she hurts people and she faces the consequences. The performances in the film are outstanding, with each actor superbly channeling their own methods of self-destruction (seriously though, Kristen Wiig is on a roll right now). Ultimately, it’s a relatively breezy film with quite a thin plot, but it’s made with a raw, truthful honesty, as painful as that truth sometimes may be to watch.

B+

THE SKELETON TWINS

Directed by Craig Johnson

Nine times out of ten, we want to see our main characters succeed. We want them to be happy, to find love and themselves, just as we’d hope the same for us. It doesn’t hurt that the two main characters of Skeleton Twins¬†are Kristen Wiig and Bill Hader, two of the most loveable people in the entire world. What they and the filmmakers give us however, are two people who couldn’t possibly feel more isolated and unhappy. It’s in the moments when these characters find a glimpse of connection and joy when the film utterly triumphs. They aren’t extraordinary human beings, but they feel extreme highs and lows, just as we do. This is a film that reaches out to us, and I was more than happy to reach back.

B+