Let’s not discuss how highly unrealistic it is for a critic to pay rent with their earnings these days, bemoan the death of magazines, and move on. Naturally, the rock world takes its toll on Dolly/Johanna. Her male co-workers are consistently jerks to her. She changes her pleasant demeanor over to an overly critical one that wins her the “b******e of the year” award from her magazine. The one bright spot is that she meets a singer named John Kite (Alfie Allen), who befriends her and seems to actually have a soul, whereas everyone else she encounters seemingly does not.
The plot goes down a not-so-unexpected trail from there, but I’ll leave that for you to see. How to Build a Girl is an incredibly fun movie. I didn’t find myself bored at all throughout it’s run time, which, to be perfectly honest, doesn’t happen all the time. Beanie Feldstein is excellent, as usual, although I’m not 100% sure how I feel about her British accent. It’s also lovely to see Alfie Allen as a nice guy. Emma Thompson, who’s always lovely to see, makes a brief cameo as well.
“…Feldstein is excellent…”
I struggle to find the scenarios in the movie entirely realistic, but it was a different time, and technically, How to Build a Girl was a novel written by Caitlin Moran (who co-wrote the screenplay with John Niven), not a memoir. I guess I’m also just kind of jealous that I didn’t become a famous writer at the age of 16. Speaking of 16, teenage girls will adore this movie, because I would’ve died over this movie and watched it over and over if it came out when I was a teen. It’s unique and funny, and there’s never a dull moment. It’s also a must-see for ’90s music aficionados because there are a lot of easter eggs strewn about.
I didn’t read the novel, but now I want to read it and the sequel, How to Be Famous. One can only hope that there’s a sequel to the movie as well. I typically can’t stand when Americans play British people, because there are so many incredible British actors, but this film follows in the Bridget Jones mold as an exception to my rule. Beanie Feldstein is just so magnetic that you almost forget she’s not British. Almost. The accent didn’t quite land, but that’s my only complaint about How to Build a Girl. Other than that, I think it’s gold.
"…Dolly Wilde is a very different person from Johanna Morrigan..."