I loved Diary of a Teenage Girl the first time I saw it, and I appreciated it even more upon second-watching over the course of 3 nights this week. My favorite aspect of it, I think (there are so many), is its inclusion of animation throughout. By animating the protagonist's thoughts, the audience is able to relate more quickly and emotionally to her experiences, which are typically far from average (e.g. losing her virginity and subsequently falling in love with her mom's boyfriend; embarking on a drug-fueled lesbian relationship, etc.)
|This is Monroe. Seeing this helps us feel what Minnie feels when she looks at him early on: butterflies, blossoming love, etc.|
Curious about the point of production at which it was decided to include animations, I consulted the script online. Turns out these animations were written in from the beginning. "Animated Minnie," it describes, as she towers through the cartoon-y streets of San Francisco after first discovering the power of her sexuality, "meets different boys along her journey. She keeps walking, morphing. Sometimes she has big thighs, sometimes her head is very small. Sometimes her breasts bulge from her shirt. She keeps walking." The animations were clearly planned to serve a creative purpose.
Erica and I are toying with the idea of including animations in the ultimate iteration of our documentary. There are scenes described by our interviewees which would lend themselves very well to being animated (because we can't feasibly reenact them, nor do we feel live-action reenactments would fit the tone of our piece). As I explore animators' works online, I'm careful to remain critical of the tone conveyed by each's work and whether such would make sense in our piece. Not all animations are created equal, and I believe it crucial for an animation to carry on the mood of the live-action scene it extends from.
Diary of a Teenage Girl's animations successfully enhanced the whimsical humor of the rest of its script. By giving us a glimpse into Minnie's head, we are able to experience with and relate to her young life. Simply put, it makes the film unique, memorable, and good.