Fifteen-year-old Minnie Goetze introduces "The Diary of a Teenage Girl" in 1976 San Francisco speaking into an audiotape microphone. With a mixture of delight and astonishment, Minnie announces, "I had sex today" and wonders if she looks different. She adds, "This makes me officially an adult," an assertion the following scenes prove strikingly inaccurate through Minnie's revealing interior monologue.
Mainstream films avoid politically charged topics, reluctant to alienate any potential audience. By refreshing contrast, "The East" makes no bones about its eco-terrorism agenda from the opening seconds to the closing credits. Though it doesn't explicitly attack real corporations' environmental destruction, it does attack the immorality and hypocrisy of the fictionalized self-indulgent wealthy who kill and maim.
The child asks for a lullaby, and the mother complies. She sings “Rock-a-bye, Baby,” a little ditty that lulls in melody but not lyric. The words, about infanticide and fear, set the scene for “What Maisie Knew.” Maisie is the child, her mother is full of the words of love but not the actions.