Carrie Pilby (film)

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Carrie Pilby
Carrie Pilby (film).jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed bySusan Johnson
Screenplay by
Based onCarrie Pilby
by Caren Lissner
Produced by
CinematographyGonzalo Amat
Edited byPhillip J. Bartell
Music byMichael Penn
Braveart Films
Distributed byThe Orchard
Release dates
  • September 9, 2016 (2016-09-09) (TIFF)
  • March 31, 2017 (2017-03-31) (United States)
Running time
98 minutes
CountryUnited States

Carrie Pilby is a 2016 American comedy-drama film directed by Susan Johnson and written by Kara Holden and Dean Craig, based on the best-selling novel of the same name by Caren Lissner. The film stars Bel Powley, Nathan Lane, Gabriel Byrne, Jason Ritter, William Moseley, Vanessa Bayer, and Colin O'Donoghue. Principal photography began on December 14, 2015, in New York City.

It was screened in the Special Presentations section at the 2016 Toronto International Film Festival. The film was given a limited release on March 31, 2017, before being released through video on demand on April 4, 2017, by The Orchard. It debuted on Netflix on September 5, 2017.


Carrie Pilby is a 19-year-old child prodigy living alone in New York City. She is always the smartest person in the room but too unhappy to enjoy it. With difficulty interacting, she has trouble dating and making friends, but she always has something to say. And while she can analyze everything, regardless of the situation, she has more difficulty understanding herself.

Carrie asks her therapist, Dr. Petrov, in a weekly session why so much emphasis is placed on happiness. "There are some brilliant, unhappy people." But the therapist, a longtime friend of Carrie's absent and widowed father, is very aware of how unique she is. Originally from London, Carrie has lived in NYC since she was 12, when her mother passed and now by herself in Manhattan. She skipped three grades, graduating from Harvard University at 18. A year later, she works for a law firm as a proofreader at her dad's insistence, but doesn't really need the job.

Carrie's clearly lonely and feels odd, despite outward appearances. She has spent the past year largely hiding in her apartment and seeing Dr. Petrov. So, he makes her a to-do list to help her emerge from her self-isolation, "Give humanity a chance" and find joy in her life: Get a job. Make a friend. Get a pet. Go on a date. Do something you enjoyed as a child.

Her adventures include a blind date with an engaged guy, friendship with an extroverted but kind co-worker and "the guy next door", whom she meets while he's playing a didgeridoo in the alley behind their apartment building. They eventually get to know each other through a walk-and-talk around the city.

There are occasional flashbacks to Carrie's unfortunate romance with her English professor when she was just 16. These serious scenes help explain her contradictions: intellectual wisdom beyond her years combined with a teen's emotional immaturity.

As Carrie starts to fulfill the list, her views on sex, romance and the world begin to change as well as how she sees relationships and humanity.



On June 17, 2013, it was announced that Braveart Films' producer Susan Johnson would make her directorial debut with the adaptation of the coming-of-age novel Carrie Pilby written by Caren Lissner, and the film would be produced by Suzanne Farwell and Susan Cartsonis of Storefront Pictures.[1] Hailee Steinfeld was previously attached to play the titular role in the film, whose script was written by Kara Holden and Dean Craig.[2] Steinfeld dropped out due to scheduling conflicts and was replaced by Bel Powley.[3] Similarly, Eddie Izzard was cast as Dr. Petrov,[4] but the role later went to Nathan Lane, while Tom Wilkinson was cast to play Carrie's father,[5] but was later replaced by Gabriel Byrne. Jason Ritter[5] and Vanessa Bayer[6] both joined the cast in April 2015.

Articles about the film noted its largely female production team, female head writer and female director.[citation needed]

Principal photography on the film began on December 14, 2015, in New York City.[7]


The film had its world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival on September 9, 2016.[8] In November 2016, The Orchard acquired US distribution rights to the film.[9] The film was given limited release on March 31, 2017, in six theaters, and then became available through video on demand on April 4, 2017.[10] The film was the most-watched iTunes film in the independent films category for the first three weeks of its release, then held third place during the fourth week.[11]


On the review aggregation website Rotten Tomatoes, the film has an approval rating of 63% based on 27 reviews, with an average rating of 5.80/10.[12] On Metacritic, the film has a weighted average score of 52 out of 100 based on reviews from 14 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews".[13]


  1. ^ McNary, Dave (June 17, 2013). "'Carrie Pilby' Headed For Big Screen (EXCLUSIVE)". Variety. Retrieved December 13, 2015.
  2. ^ Ford, Rebecca (January 9, 2015). "Hailee Steinfeld to Star in YA Adaptation 'Carrie Pilby' (Exclusive)". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved December 13, 2015.
  3. ^ Ford, Rebecca (August 5, 2015). "'Diary of a Teenage Girl' Actress Bel Powley to Star in 'Carrie Pilby' (Exclusive)". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved December 13, 2015.
  4. ^ Ford, Rebecca (February 5, 2015). "Eddie Izzard Joins Hailee Steinfeld in 'Carrie Pilby' (Exclusive)". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved December 13, 2015.
  5. ^ a b Ford, Rebecca (April 8, 2015). "Tom Wilkinson, Jason Ritter Join Indie 'Carrie Pilby' (Exclusive)". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved December 13, 2015.
  6. ^ VENKATESA, NIKHIL (April 22, 2015). "Alum's movie casts Vanessa Bayer". Retrieved December 13, 2015.
  7. ^ "On the Set 12/11/15: James Franco and Seth Rogen Start 'The Disaster Artist', Owen Wilson & Ed Helms Wrap 'Bastards'". December 11, 2015. Archived from the original on 2015-12-13. Retrieved December 13, 2015.
  8. ^ "Toronto To Open With 'The Magnificent Seven'; 'La La Land', 'Deepwater Horizon' Among Galas & Presentations". Deadline Hollywood. July 26, 2016. Retrieved July 26, 2016.
  9. ^ Hipes, Patrick (November 1, 2016). "The Orchard Acquires Bel Powley Movie 'Carrie Pilby'". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved November 1, 2016.
  10. ^ Hipes, Patrick (January 25, 2017). "Bel Powley-Starrer 'Carrie Pilby' Gets March Release Date". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved January 26, 2017.
  11. ^ "Top 10 films on iTunes". The New York Times. May 9, 2017.
  12. ^ "Carrie Pilby (2016)". Rotten Tomatoes. July 20, 2022.
  13. ^ "Reviews for Carrie Pilby (2016)". Metacritic. July 20, 2022.

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