I got the benefit of seeing a preview of this film, without having read any reviews or press coverage, and with low expectations. Really pleased to find a subtle examination of a girls sexuality, and great touches of comics culture, with Aline Kominsky appearing and many graphics in the film featuring a Comix / UG sensibility. I had not come across Phoebe Gloeckner’ graphic novel. It is great to see such good use of comics in American cinema, besides the use of stock Marvel tropes.
The underlying themes of healthy sexual desire, the need for affirmation and love, and the role of power in sex were all explored in a manner that did not force the viewer to conform with the writer / director director Marielle Heller’s perspective, though the happy ending was more upbeat than some of Minnie’s (Bel Powley) darker moments might have warranted. To that extent the story arc was a conventional American film maker’s slice of narrative.
But, Minnie was given plenty of space to be an individual and Powley gave her a physical gawkiness that did not deny her emerging adulthood, but also showed her as a child. Early on, her enthusiasm that she just got fucked comes down with a bump, as her friend reacts in disgust and Powley’s face is so transparent, it is painful. As is much of the early part of the film, as the moral ambiguity of the relationship with the older father figure, Monroe (Alexander Skarsgård) is left open.
Quite interested to see how the Barbara Speed in the New Statesman links this to Dunham’s HBO Girls