Marielle Heller's The Diary of a Teenage Girl is one of the best films of the year. Based on Phoebe Gloeckner's graphic novel, the girl is 15-year-old Minnie (Bel Powley), who lives in 1976 San Francisco with her divorced, boozy mother Charlotte (Kristen Wiig). Minnie's desire to explore her own sexuality leads her into an affair with her mother's boyfriend Monroe (Alexander Skarsgård), and eventually deep into the city's darker corners. She's also a budding cartoonist, and her hero (and imaginary friend) is Aline Kominsky, best known as R. Crumb's wife but long overdue for a critical reassessment on her own merits — something Diary will hopefully spark. In addition to being very funny and uplifting — even as Minnie makes some bad choices and enters into a spiral — The Diary of a Teenage Girl is as unflinching in its portrayal of its hero's experimentation as an R rating will allow. Remarkably, it also pulls off the feat of neither catering to the male gaze nor demonizing Minnie, making it something of an outlier among films about young girls who embrace their sexuality. Neither adults nor teenage girls should miss the chance to unlock this Diary.