Someone once said, “new is always better”. We know that cannot be true all the time, yet new things do bring a much-required freshness in our lives. And if that new thing revisits an old amazing thing, excitement seeps through us like blood and sweat. Moreover, that’s something we need in the middle of this global crisis we’re in. How to Build a Girl, the film adaptation of Caitlin Moran’s semi-autobiographical novel of the same name, has arrived for audiences in the USA. IFC Films released the coming-of-age comedy film on May 8, 2020, and it stars our favorite lad from the Iron Islands, Game of Thrones star Alfie Allen (Theon Greyjoy). Read on to find out more.
How to Build a Girl is the story of Johanna Morrigan, a teenager from Wolverhampton, England in 1993. Cramped in the house with her eccentric parents and four brothers, Johanna is bored and confused, like most teens, about her path ahead. She wants to burst out of her cocoon and live out her fantasies. Her life changes when she comes across an opening for new writers as a rock music critic in a magazine. Although she doesn’t know much about contemporary music, Johanna seizes the chance. But when her earnest opinion doesn’t work, a new hyper-sassy alter-ego, Dolly Wilde, is born. Dolly is a harsh critic, very difficult to please, who assumes a high pedestal for herself. This edgy road leads to meteoric success and fame, but Johanna is nowhere to be seen. What happens when you make yourself up, only to realize the ingredients are not yours!
The film stars Beanie Feldstein (Lady Bird, Booksmart) as the 16-year old Johanna Morrigan. Her co-stars are Alfie Allen, Paddy Considine, Chris O’Dowd, and Emma Thompson. Alfie Allen plays a pop singer, John Kite who gets enchanted by Dolly Wilde. The screenplay is penned by Caitlin Moran and John Niven while Coky Giedroyc has directed the film. How to Build a Girl first premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) in September 2019; where it won the FIPRESCI Special Presentations Award.
A few critics have appreciated the message, a tinge of magical realism, and the performances in the film. Beanie Feldstein received praise for her portrayal of a passionate yet wayward teenager whereas Alfie Allen’s cameo got reviews like “straightforward” and “endearing”.
The film could not hit the theaters due to the problems of COVID-19. It released on May 8, 2020, on-demand in the United States. It’s available on IFC Films and Amazon (on rent). The UK release was earlier scheduled for July 3, 2020, but it’s not confirmed at the moment.
Check out the trailer and give it a go if you find it interesting. You can tell us your thoughts in the comments section below.