Coky Giedroyc’s “How to Build a Girl,” penned by Moran and based on her semi-autobiographical best-selling memoir of the same name, doesn’t even reference that story. Through her active imagination, Johanna solicits advice from the moving subjects in the photos. Soz!”. Feldstein particuarly has fun when Johanna creates a new persona, Dolly Wilde. They talk her up, make her believe in herself, and give her the inspiration to write. At her worst, Johanna dons a wedding train and drunkenly accepts an award for Asshole of the Year. As Moran, here going by both the alias Johanna Morrigan and her pen name Dolly Wilde, today’s go-to cannonball Beanie Feldstein rampages through high school hallways and nightclubs like she’s terrified that if she stops moving, she’ll be stuck. The ending also suffers an easy flaw, but Feldstein’s performance is so endearing and Moran’s story so compelling, that it’s practically forgivable. Perhaps that argument matters less in an era when selling out as an influencer is the goal. Johanna lives on hand-me-downs, she is badly dressed, over weight and tends to talk too much and is not happy how her teenage life is working out. The essential elements of a Perils of Pauline film, after all, are a Pauline and a peril; this darling is too nice for Moran to convincingly risk killing her off. Paddy Considine plays Johanna’s father as a well-meaning but essentially feckless charmer (with remarkably good teeth) who is coping with a depressed wife after the late-in-life arrival of twins. Fans of feelgood British romcom will respond - although they may be feeling a little tapped-up at the moment - and a life-affirming feisty female is always welcome, especially one whose transition to adulthood is this rocky. A burgeoning romance with an older singer (played by Game Of Thrones’ Alfie Allen) will also become grist to her career mill. By using this site you are agreeing to our privacy and cookie policy. Yet, the film’s giggles nearly eclipse Moran’s larger point, which is, as she put it in an interview, “to stop women going out with f–king asshats.” Still, it’s lovely to see how cinematographer Hubert Taczanowski captures the emotions of Johanna’s first serious crush. The film hits the high notes of what it feels like to write passionately into late-night hours and the thrill of a writer’s first printed byline, as well as the lows of making rookie mistakes and feeling like a failure. Some lucky few achieve their impossible dreams well ahead of schedule—if there’s even such a thing as a schedule for success. As Johanna finds more success, her outfits evolve from baby show punk to an outfit worthy for an audition for “The Greatest Showman”—what a teen girl may think it takes to stand out, be cool and to fit into the boy’s club. Later, after she’s flubbed that first meeting, a poster of Björk calls out to her, “Rooms like that need girls like you.”. A family man struggles to put bread on the table in this low-key examination of America’s bankrupt dream, The stakes grow ever-higher for a professional cyclist and doper in Kieron J. Walsh’s Ireland-set drama, The real-life ‘Wasp Network’ tell their stories to camera. By Matthew Passantino. There is more in “How to Build a Girl” that works than doesn’t. Although Johanna may think of herself as all grown-up, she still has a lot to learn when communicating with adults. Johanna dreams of being a poet and puppyishly writes reams of her ’memoirs’ for her put-upon English teacher (Joanna Scanlon), but she mainly wants to leave this town behind and find her future self – fast. In typical fashion, she later darkly joked that she’d “killed the spokesperson for my generation.