DRAMA; 1hr 42min
STARRING: Bel Powley, Kristen Wiig, Alexander Skarsgard
Crowded house: from left, Wiig, Powley and Skarsgard
The first time that Monroe (Skarsgard) drapes his paw over Minnie’s “fantastic” breasts, videocassette diarist and cartoonist Minnie (Powley) describes the experience as “a strangely calming feeling.” It should have been a bright red flag for them both: Monroe is a lax 35 and the boyfriend of Minnie’s boozy mother, Charlotte (Wiig). Minnie is a high-pitched 15, and since the straight and narrow is a road to nowhere in 1976 San Francisco, she’s about to latch onto her sexuality like a terrier with a big, juicy bone.
Minnie and Morgan’s wildly inappropriate affair is the skeleton of writer-director Marielle Heller’s penetrating debut adaptation of Phoebe Gloeckner’s graphic novel, but its marrow is the eternal adolescent rite of passage into a steamy swamp of obsessive sex. “Does everyone think about fucking as much as I do?” a lovelorn Minnie wonders, when not either hard at it or her raunchy illustrations. At 15, they most probably do, although rarely with such a biting and coltish punch. Powley, last seen on our screens as a mischievous Princess Margaret in A Royal Night Out, plays with a full spectrum of colours here. Inky, sunny or floundering in middling shades of uncertainty, she is iridescent.