The Diary of a Teenage Girl (2015) is a coming of age story from the perspective of Minnie Getz, a fifteen year-old girl living in San Francisco circa 1976. Minnie’s goal in the film is to be loved, because she needs to be loved so that she can be happy. Her journey in the film is a discovery of what it means to be a woman.
Minnie’s mother Charlotte, played by Kristen Wiig, is consumed with physical appearance. She makes comments to Minnie such as, “Is that what you wore today? I’m just saying it wouldn’t kill you to show off your waste a bit… you might be happier if you put it out there a bit. Wear some make up. Wear a skirt once in a while.” Charlotte’s body image fixation rubs off on young, impressionable and insecure Minnie, who worries that she is fat and has small breasts.
Minnie proposes the question early in the film, “What is the point in living if nobody loves you? Nobody sees you? Nobody touches you?” Minnie’s experiences and experimentation in the film lead her to a new resolution of what one needs in order to be happy, and what Minnie finds is her definition of happiness is in stark contrast to her mother’s definition. “I always thought I wanted to be exactly like my mom. But she thinks she needs a man to be happy. I don’t.”
Minnie concludes, “So maybe nobody loves me. Maybe nobody will ever love me. But maybe it’s not about being loved by somebody else.” The last sentence of Minnie’s message is told visually in the final shot of the film where Minnie dances alone in her bedroom. If you want to be happy, you need to love yourself.