TIFF 2019: ‘How To Build A Girl’ Is A Film For Anyone Who’s Been A Teenage Girl

How To Build a Girl is that special gem that makes you think, feel, and laugh like a baby watching Peppa Pig. Directed by Coky Giedroyc and based on the novel of the same name – which is based on author Caitlin Moran’s life – How To Build a Girl tells the story of Johanna Morrigan (Beanie Feldstein). Johanna is bookish (and refreshingly horny) teenage girl who’s desperate to escape her boring suburban life in the British Midlands. With her family’s financial situation deteriorating, Johanna uses her writing talent to procure a job as a critic at a London-based music magazine. Hilarity and heartfelt lessons ensue!

While the film’s dialogue is snappy and the soundtrack is full of your favourite 90s songs, it’s Feldstein’s performance that truly elevates makes How To Build a Girl. Feldstein beautifully captures the earnestness and insecurity of an adolescent who’s worried her best self isn’t good enough for the glamorous world she wants to inhabit. The end result is a relatable story about a resilient young woman who flirts with becoming the worst version of herself. We watch Johanna pen mean-spirited music reviews and lords her newfound wealth over her family; however, How To Build a Girl also has tremendous empathy for its young protagonist. She’s given the space to learn from her mistakes, to realize it’s possible to rebuild oneself as many times as one needs.

So, grab your niece and escort her to this charming coming-of-Age story. It’s a movie every teenage girl should see!

Sarah Sahagian

Sarah Sahagian

Sarah Sahagian is a feminist writer based in Toronto. Her byline has appeared in such publications as Elle Canada, Flare, Bitch Media, The Toronto Star, and The National Post. She is also the co-host of You Do You: A Dating Podcast. Sarah holds a master’s degree in Gender Studies from The London School of Economics. You can find her on Twitter, where she posts about politics and live-tweets The Bachelor