Teen Girl Protagonist
But at its core lies a story of redemption, cultural pride, feminism, and economics — elements of a young life contending with extraordinary challenges. … ‘Queen of Katwe’ is a mesmerizing story of a life fully realized, a life that’s often overlooked and not given a chance. Its young cast, led by Nalwanga’s nuanced performance, help illuminate layers of humanity resting deep in the “slums” of Uganda, exhibiting talent well beyond their years.
[Trigger Warning: for discussion of child abuse, incest, rape, and sexual assault] To what extent are filmmakers obliged to depict scenes of rape and the sexual assault of women and girls — a pandemic-sized problem in real life — in accurate and illuminating ways?
The film is beautifully shot and highly stylized, allowing us a panoramic view of Minnie’s inner life through animated versions of her intense and thoughtful comic illustrations, drawn frame by frame. Still, ‘Diary’s best feature is its script. While the lessons Minnie learns are expected ones, they are important and the audience will be deeply pleased to see her arrive there. As Minnie reflects on her changing body, interests, and desires, it becomes easy to empathize with a character so familiar and yet so individual.
She tells the girls she isn’t supposed to eat chocolate, but she’d like to buy some anyway. Then, she faints as a result of hypoglycemia and possibly exhaustion, the results of her being so large. Daria and Jane stand still for a moment, startled and clueless, and then Jane takes a picture.
Twenty years later, we need more of what My So-Called Life gave us a taste of. We need teenage girl protagonists to be sexual, not sexy. We need honest portrayals of what it is to be a teenager–not only for teenagers who need to see themselves in faithful mirrors, but also for adults who are still trying to figure themselves out.