Jamie Neish: Bel captures spirit of teenage kicks

Alexander Skarsgard and Bel Powley. Pic: PA
Alexander Skarsgard and Bel Powley. Pic: PA
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TEENAGE years are difficult. Emotions and identities change and libidos kick in to overdrive, turning children into a sexually charged mass of hormones.

This turbulent period is encapsulated in The Diary of a Teenage Girl - a film which presents the world through the eyes of 15-year-old Minnie as she experiences the rush of change in the 1970s.

Sadly, however, the folks at the BBFC have declared the film - aimed at teenagers of a similar age - an 18 certificate in the UK, meaning only those legally considered adults can see it. And that’s a shame, because despite the nudity and risque language The Diary of a Teenage Girl contains, is also a funny, frank and worthy expression of female empowerment.

Bel Powley, who portrays Minnie, delivers such a fearless performance that you often forget she is acting and, for the whole of its run time, whole-heartedly view her as any other confused, anxious teenager.

The material is controversial - the relationship Minnie develops with her mum’s boyfriend, played by Alexander Skarsgard, is inappropriate to say the least.

But the script, adapted from a book of real life experiences by writer-director Marielle Heller, treads very carefully.

It is a deeply funny insight into the ups and downs of adolescence. In some ways, Minnie is much more confident and outspoken than most, but she hurts as well, deep down still a child craving attention and love.

With an 18 certificate the BBFC have made The Diary of a Teenage Girl out to be pornographic, which is exactly what’s it is not.

The film is a timeless study of finding oneself that oozes style, wit and significance. It’s a shame the audience has been so limited.