How to Build a Girl

How to Build

By Joanna Langfield

It’s never an easy time to be a teenager, but perhaps this is an even greater moment for a hip coming of age movie to reach out to kids who just don’t fit in.

The always terrific Beanie Feldstein plays Johanna, a sixteen year old girl who just knows she’s a great writer, even if her schoolmates think she’s weird. She may freak out to the pictures of smart historical figures she’s taped to her wall, but Johanna keeps her chin up and her efforts continuous. And damned if she doesn’t eventually talk her way into a job, writing music reviews for a London paper filled with much cooler than thou guys. Adopting a new, more colorful personality and name, our bud blossoms. And she may just bloom a bit too much.

Director Coky Giedroyc gets more momentum going once the initial introductions are over, making this movie adaptation of a semi autobiographical novel a slow starter that builds into something quite sweet. It’s always good news when Paddy Considine shows up and he’s a winner here, too, as Johanna’s disappointed rock star dad. And, once you get over the surprise of hearing Feldstein rock a working class English accent, her performance works solidly, too. Maybe no one is supposed to stand out, taking away the spotlight from our girl-in-development, but co-star Alfie Allen just can’t help it. Playing the heartthrob musician Johanna lands as her first interview, Allen, of course, is supposed to be playing a magnetic star, but his smartly calibrated performance makes the young man we meet worthy of the attention we can’t help but pay him.

One Response to “How to Build a Girl”

  1. How to Build a Girl | The Movie Minute Says:

    […] Read More […]

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