We talked to director Marielle Heller (her movie The Diary of a Teenage Girl, starring Bel Powley and Kristen Wiig, hits theaters August 7) and author Phoebe Gloeckner (her coming-of-age novel inspired the flick) about the angst and exhilaration of our pre-adulthood days.
Marie Claire: Marielle, what attracted you to Phoebe's book?
Marielle Heller: My sister gave me Phoebe's book as a Christmas present, and it totally blew me away. The most honest depiction of what it felt like to be a teenage girl, without any judgment. Though when my mom read the book, she said, "I felt like it was all about the mother."
Phoebe Gloeckner: When I first met your mother, I wondered why she looked at me so funny!
MC: What are some of the teen-girlhood realities that the story touches on?
MH: We don't see girls exploring their sexuality often, not in a very honest way. We're given the lesson that boys are the ones who are interested in sex, and as a girl, your job is to withhold sex until you decide you're going to give it up, or something. This was a simple, revolutionary idea of a young girl who's thinking about sex really honestly and without shame.
PG: And this is not a '70s family. It happens to be in the '70s, and that's a great, colorful period, but you meet [the protagonist] Minnie everywhere, all of the time.
MC: What is Minnie searching for?
MH: I remember thinking that same thought Minnie has: Is there anybody thinking about me out there? And hoping it was a cute boy at school.
PG: She's looking for love. Whatever it is.
MH: My adult version of love involves a lot more work, and it's a lot dirtier and feels a lot less like someone just loves you out there in the world.
The Diary of a Teenage Girl hits theaters on August 7, watch the trailer below:
A version of this article appears in the August 2015 issue of Marie Claire.
As deputy editor, Jen oversees Cosmopolitan's daily digital editorial operations, editing and writing features, essays, news, and other content, in addition to editing the magazine's cover stories, astrology pages, and more. Previously, Jen was a senior editor at Marie Claire. Before that, she worked at GQ.
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