How to Build a Girl

Published July 24, 2020

How to Build a Girl

Film info

  • Title How to Build a Girl
  • Director Coky Giedroyc
  • Year 2019
  • Run time 1hr 42m
  • Genre Comedy
  • Tagline They say you're unstoppable. So don't stop.

Wolverhampton 1993. Johanna Morrigan, 16, yearns to better her working-class destiny. So she reinvents herself as the fast-talking impossible-to-please rock critic, Dolly Wilde. Watch Johanna's comedic rise to the top of the 90s music scene. Based on the bestselling book by Times columnist, Caitlin Moran.

Live blog

Time Comment
2:00 I mean, with the accent, and the song, this is already a straight up 5/5.
3:15 Bianca is an odd name for a dog, no?
4:55 Face-spotting all the people on the wall is a lot of fun. Mel & Sue!
8:31 A memoir of 16 years. Amazing.
10:21 “My pivotal moment. Like when the Little Mermaid gets legs.”
15:35 Renting a TV seems so weird now.
21:44 I absolutely would not go in a door like that. She’s brave.
24:20 “Rooms like that need girls like you.” TRUTH.
27:34 The brother is really nice.
36:01 “This isn’t the frigging Commitments.”
40:24 DO they include walking in the transport safety records?
41:33 Profound message about smoking. Amazing.
48:38 The Unexpected Twins sounds like a mystery novel waiting to happen.
55:56 You can’t read a newspaper quietly. You just can’t.
56:30 “I’m the cold light of day. A hope-smasher. A teacher.” Dude. This film.
1:01:10 I’m not a big fan of the mean-ness.
1:06:40 Clay pigeon vinyl shooting is hardcore.
1:17:19 I don’t know how I feel about any of this but I do like a good Beatles burn.
1:29:50 “It’s a typo!” This film might be verging on a ten.
1:29:56 “It looks like you tried to kill yourself for Bono.”
1:31:03 “I became evil, but it’s July now. I’m over it.”
1:33:00 Emma T now too? This is a 25 out of 5 film.


Genuinely, the first couple of minutes of this movie proved it was going to be a 5 out of 5. Beanie being brilliant, and also doing an incredible accent, some fab music kicking in, and just a wonderful sense of British nostalgia (the good kind).

And the rest of it unfolded in that magic fashion. Great inside jokes, nods to comedy and music history, a great coming-of-age story, learning lessons, finding your place in the world, even at such a young age. Fantastic cast, with lots of nice surprises along the way. And, of course, that great feminist message. That moment where he wants her to sit in his lap and you get this gut-punch but it pulls out of it with great skill.

And she’s a flawed heroine - takes some dark turns but ultimately is a wonder to behold. I loved it and will, for sure, be watching it again. Soon. Maybe right now? Why not.

Rating: 5 / 5

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