Written & Directed By: Marielle Heller
Based On The Novel By: Phoebe Glockner
Cinematography By: Brandon Trost
Editor: Marie-Helene Dozo & Koen Timmerman 

Cast: Bel Powley, Alexander Skarsgard, Kristin Wiig, Christopher Meloni, Anthony Williams, Madeline Waters, Austin Lyon, Abby Wait, Miranda Bailey

A teen artist living in 1970s San Francisco enters into an affair with her mother’s boyfriend

Considering for me the book was so shocking in depth, In admission and material. That it truly lived up to it’s title. I am surprised by what the movie kept in. Though the film is of course more linear and straight forward. Sticking more to story and plot and not as much distractions or one off situations.

Just as in the book with the art work. The films use of animation is inventive, colorful and helps illustrate the story.

The movie is no holds barred. It introduces an openness with the audience into this girls private life and thoughts. In more a relaxed way that doesn’t scandalize the proceedings as to do that would be explosive and would make everything feel more perverse and disturbing.

It is rare that you get to see a coming of age tale of a girl that deals with sexuality as much as boys tales do and that involve somewhat of a love story and if it involves sex. Actually looks at it from her point of view and while dramatic not an ending or something that will doom her or that she fights to get over. As in male coming of age tales sleeping with an older woman is sympathetic or seen as a victory. Usually in films if the same is done with an underage girl and an older man it is made to look sick and that he is a pervert. I can see why and I am not saying it is ever right, but here it seems like while the older male character has his problems… A lot of them. Here it is wrong but it leads to her development, even if it at first seems to destroy her as she tries to get over it and forget him. Which seems destructive, but haven’t we all done the wrong things after a relationship has gone bust?

All the sex scenes between Bel Powley and Alexander Skarsgard ‘s characters were shot in the first week of filming. They had two weeks of rehearsal, discussing the emotional relationship between them, then they just got on set and did it.

The film is sexually graphic, not in an erotic way but more matter of fact. The film is more shocking in where it doesn’t go in actions. While giving subtle hints of behavior. Though truthfully like all tales of the past. This one seems only acceptable for the time period it takes place in and happens during. Unfortunately i am sure stories like this are still happening.

The film shows the more controversial material then the stuff one would think to explore. That keeps the film cleaner or more appealing to a broader audience. This film keeps you on your toes to a degree and isn’t afraid to be upfront and in your face. The film like it’s subject and character is subtle yet rebellious. Treating it’s presentation as a second nature.

Shaping it as a more dangerous adult oriented after school Special without a universal happy ending. A film that could only be Brought to you through an independent lens as this is far from a studio mandated film.

As a male audience member I will admit the the film at times does make one feel uncomfortable we the actress, Bell Powley truly looks underage even though through conventional wisdom and research informs us she was 22 at the time of filming, though still her character is underage as she goes through this. She knocks her performance out of the park as she plays her scenes vulnerable, cocky and with the right amount of assurance and emotions.

I admire the film that it allows a more well rounded version of the characters to emerge. That make them three dimensional, even if at times it drops or leaves out certain details about them.

As the film doesn’t try to make the girl a victim. Nor make the man some sick pedophile driving past elementary schools. Who is controlled by desire.

This is a film that feels that if directed by a man. It would be wrong or seem more explosive or maybe even go out of it’s way to be too sensitive to the material and not let it flourish and be told in more a matter of fact, fashion. Plus be criticized more heavily and harshly.

Then again as a film that deals with a young lady’s sexuality and awakening. One feels uncomfortable, I believe as it is the way we are taught and in presentation more intimate, Meaning and sensitive romantically. When it is men or young men it is more outrageous and exploitive, comedic and sometimes romantic. Though then again we rarely get female oriented coming of age tales. Especially ones that deal with sexuality. It is more in the background or not dealt with. I don’t know if I can be clear and thorough as it is a film you have to to experience and see for yourself to get.

Grade: B

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