Showing on Amazon Prime Video.
Based on Caitlin Moran’s book, How to Build a Girl is set in 1993 Wolverhampton and follows the life of 16 yr. old schoolgirl Johanna Morrigan, a talented and passionate writer which leads to her making a less than glorious appearance on a TV poetry competition. Living in a music obsessed family with a music fanzine editor brother and frustrated drummer dad, Johanna finds herself in the world of music criticism when she earns herself a job as a columnist for a national music paper, leading her into a very grown up world via her alter ego Dolly Wilde and eventually a personality change that makes her infamous.
How to Build a Girl takes a lot from work like Adrian Mole, Bridget Jones, Almost Famous and comes with a heavy dose of dark comedy.
There are issues with it and it takes some suspension of disbelief to get onboard, from ropey accents to a bit of a lack of attention to period details and I personally feel there are issues with the “antics” and situations we place our 16 yr. old central character in.
But the story of discovery and growing up in a hard up 90’s family did draw me in and that’s in no small part to its cast, Beanie Feldstein (hugely unconvincing accent aside) is a joy in the central role, taking Johanna from innocent and naive though to her darkest moments and back again seamlessly, Paddy Considine is fun as her still dreaming dad and Laurie Kynaston as her brother standout but performances are good throughout.
As I mentioned earlier this borrows heavily from some well known work and it shows in a pretty predictable story, but there is plenty to like, especially in the performances and if your looking for a decent story of growing up then this may be what you’re after.