What do you do when you build yourself of all the wrong things and one day you realize that you did it all for a girl. What girl? You, Baby, You! Beanie Feldstein is becoming the face and voice of a generation when it comes to teenage coming of age films. Last year, it was her star turn in Booksmart and this year she is simply mesmerizing in IFC films’ How To Build A Girl.
The awkwardness of being a teenage girl wanting to be cool, understood and desirable is real. I don’t know a woman alive who didn’t experience and live through that ridiculous chapter in life and continues to navigate through all of it. Unlike Issa in Insecure who pumps up her own confidence talking to herself in the mirror, Johanna Morrigan grabs her confidence and inspiration from her icons plastered on her wall like Donna Summer, Sigmund Freud, Sylvia Plath, Cleopatra, Julie Andrews and Elizabeth Taylor to name a few, as well as, her equally eccentric failed musician father.
After securing a writing gig, Johanna, transforms from an isolated zaftig nerd to reinventing herself into Dolly Wilde, a rock music critic dressed like Magenta from The Rocky Horror Picture Show. It isn’t long before the rapid fire pace Johanna’s life becomes more than she can bear while running face-first into a devastatingly real, personal and professional crisis.
Is this the type of girl she desired to become or does she start from ground zero building from the ground up? Based on Caitlin Moran’s best-selling book, How to Build a Girl is a smart, sexy, heartwarming coming-of-age comedy that outlines the rocky road to womanhood through the lens of a unique, wildly brave protagonist.
As Executive Producer and Screenwriter, Moran frequently drops gems of dialogue taken from some our classic fairytales like “…you sold the car for magic beans” as s slight Jack in the Beanstalk throwback and literally made me laugh out loud. However, it’s the spot on crafted monologue at the end that will resonate with audiences.
There’s nothing more empowering than watching women find their way through this convoluted thing we call life. Yes, it’s murky, tricky, magical and sometimes quite disappointing. At the end of the day, would we have it any other way? I think not. How to Build a Girl made its debut at the 2019 Toronto International Film Festival and will be made available via digital, VOD and scheduled to play at select drive-in theatres in Arizona, California and Florida on May 8th.