It’s Lena Dunham’s favourite movie of the year, but you’ll need a bogus alter ego to see it
A new film opened over the weekend that has fallen foul of the censors for one reason: talking openly about teen sexuality. It’s also Lena Dunham’s favourite movie of the year. The Diary of a Teenage Girl stars Bel Powley as Minnie, a 15-year-old artist who loses her virginity to her mum’s boyfriend. It sounds saucy and has been mistakenly compared to Lolita, but the film is more innocent-diary-entry than out-and-out raunch fest. It tackles body image, provocative dressing and not feeling guilty for the occasional lewd thought.
Unfortunately, the audience for which the film was intended (teen girls) is not able to see the film after it was guillotined with an 18 rating from the BBFC due to “strong verbal sex references” and more than 40 uses of the word “fuck”. The film received an R rating in America, meaning the film can be seen when accompanied with an adult. But if you’re under 18 here? Nope. Try the new Mission Impossible.
Diary of a Teenage Girl opens today! Beautiful, important funny movie- my favorite this year. Run don't walk!— Lena Dunham (@lenadunham) August 6, 2015
In wake of the discriminatory rating, Powley is taking matters into her own hands. “I’m sure I’m not meant to say this but try and see the movie – get a fake ID and go and see it!” she told the Evening Standard. “Female sexuality and teenage girls isn’t something we want to talk about in movies, in books or even in life. It’s a taboo subject and having been a teenage girl myself it’s quite damaging. It makes you feel ostracised, like a freak for having sexual feelings.”
Phoebe Gloeckner, who penned the graphic novel upon which the film is based, weighed in, saying, ”I would compare it to having a film about the plight of blacks in the United States in the Forties and not letting blacks into the audience. These (teenage girls) are the people who are feeling these things.”
The add insult to injury, the panel that deemed the film unwatchable by under 18s was a panel of men, who – according to Powley – got it “entirely incorrect”.
“I was really disappointed. I assumed that the American rating would be higher than the English rating,” she said. “But apparently it was a board of men (at the BBFC) that decided it and part of the problem we’re trying to show in this movie is that people are scared of teenage girls and teenage sexuality. They don’t want to admit that it exists.”
So if you can swing it, get your hands on a fake ID, because this movie is seriously worth the hassle.