How to Build a Girl

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How to Build a Girl
How to Build a Girl poster.jpeg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byCoky Giedroyc
Produced by
Written byCaitlin Moran
Based onHow to Build a Girl
by Caitlin Moran
Music byOli Julian
CinematographyHubert Taczanowski
Edited by
  • Gary Dollner
  • Gareth C. Scales
Distributed by
Release date
  • September 7, 2019 (2019-09-07) (TIFF)
  • May 8, 2020 (2020-05-08) (United States)
Running time
102 minutes[1]
  • United Kingdom
  • United States
Box office$69,118[2]

How to Build a Girl is a 2019 coming-of-age comedy film directed by Coky Giedroyc, from a screenplay by Caitlin Moran and John Niven, based on the 2014 novel of the same name by Moran. It stars Beanie Feldstein, Paddy Considine, Sarah Solemani, Alfie Allen, Frank Dillane, Laurie Kynaston, Arinzé Kene, Tadhg Murphy, Ziggy Heath, Bobby Schofield, Chris O'Dowd, Joanna Scanlan and Emma Thompson.

The film had its world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival on 7 September 2019, and won the FIPRESCI Special Presentations award.[3] It was released in the United States on 8 May 2020 by IFC Films.


The film follows the growth of Johanna Morrigan, starting as a teenager living with her working-class family on a council estate in Wolverhampton, England, as she becomes a popular but conflicted music journalist.



In November 2014, it was announced Alison Owen and Debra Hayward had acquired rights to the novel of the same by Caitlin Moran, who will also write the script for the film. Owens and Hayward will produce the film under their Monunmental Pictures banner, while Film4 Productions will produce the film.[4] In May 2018, Beanie Feldstein joined the cast of the film, with Tango Entertainment producing and financing the film.[5] In June 2018, Alfie Allen joined the cast of the film.[6] In July 2018, Paddy Considine, Sarah Solemani, Laurie Kynaston, Joanna Scanlan, Arinze Kene, Frank Dillane, Tadhg Murphy and Ziggy Heath joined the cast of the film. Daniel Battsek, Ollie Madden, Sue Bruce-Smith, Tim Headington, Lisa Buman, Zygi Kamasa, Emma Berkofsky and Caitlin Moran will executive produce the film under their Film4 Productions and Tango Entertainment banners, respectively. Lionsgate will distribute in the United Kingdom.[7] In August 2018, Jameela Jamil joined the cast of the film.[8] In October 2018, Emma Thompson and Chris O'Dowd joined the cast of the film.[9]


Principal photography began on 16 July 2018.[10]


The film had its world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival on 7 September 2019.[11] Shortly after, IFC Films acquired US distribution rights to the film.[12] It was released in the United States on 8 May 2020.[13]


Box office[edit]

In its opening weekend, the film grossed $15,000 from six theaters.[14] In its second weekend, it made $36,000 from nine drive-in theaters, for a 10-day total of $55,802.[15]

Critical response[edit]

On Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds an approval rating of 80% based on 99 reviews, with an average rating of 6.49/10. The site's critical consensus reads: "Led by Beanie Feldstein's charming performance, How to Build a Girl puts a disarmingly earnest spin on the familiar coming-of-age comedy formula."[16] On Metacritic, the film has a weighted average score of 70 out of 100, based on 22 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews".[17]

Ann Hornaday of the Washington Post wrote: "To every girl who watched Almost Famous and High Fidelity and bears the scars of trying to shoehorn her inner self into the male protagonist's cramped psyche, How to Build a Girl arrives like a soothing, if imperfect, balm."[18]


  1. ^ "How to Build a Girl". Toronto International Film Festival. Retrieved 23 July 2019.
  2. ^ "How to Build a Girl – Financial Information". The Numbers. Retrieved 4 June 2020.
  3. ^ Hipes, Patrick (12 September 2019). "Toronto Film Festival Jury Winners: 'Martin Eden', 'Murmur', 'How To Build A Girl'". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved 12 September 2019.
  4. ^ Tartaglione, Nancy (11 November 2014). "Alison Owen & Debra Hayward's Monumental Crafting 'How To Build A Girl'". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved 16 July 2018.
  5. ^ Wiseman, Andreas; Tartaglione, Nancy (8 May 2018). "'Lady Bird's Beanie Feldstein To Lead 'How To Build A Girl' – Cannes". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved 16 July 2018.
  6. ^ Parfitt, Orlando (20 June 2018). "Alfie Allen signs up for 'How To Build A Girl' based on Caitlin Moran bestseller". Screen International. Retrieved 16 July 2018.
  7. ^ Wiseman, Andreas (16 July 2018). "Beanie Feldstein Comedy 'How To Build A Girl' Adds Cast, Lionsgate With Shoot Under Way". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved 16 July 2018.
  8. ^ Jamill, Jameela (26 August 2018). "Guys I'm in love. I got to meet this absolute gem @beaniefeldstein while we were filming on set at #howtobuildagirl yesterday. She's way too nice, talented and pretty. I'm going to have to kill her. ❤️". Instagram. Retrieved 2 September 2018.
  9. ^ Ritman, Alex (23 October 2018). "Emma Thompson to Star in 'How to Build a Girl' (Exclusive)". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 23 October 2018.
  10. ^ "Filming under way on Caitlin Moran movie How To Build A Girl". 16 July 2018. Retrieved 16 July 2018.
  11. ^ Lang, Brent (23 July 2019). "Toronto Film Festival: 'Joker,' 'Ford v Ferrari,' 'Hustlers' Among Big Premieres". Variety. Retrieved 23 July 2019.
  12. ^ McNary, Dave (9 November 2019). "Beanie Feldstein's Comedy 'How to Build a Girl' Bought by IFC". Variety. Retrieved 9 November 2019.
  13. ^ "How to Build a Girl". IFC Films. Retrieved 18 January 2020.
  14. ^ "The Numbers - Weekend Box Office Chart for May 8, 2020". The Numbers. Retrieved 11 May 2020.
  15. ^ "Horror Movie 'The Wretched' Leads Small North American Box Office as Drive-Ins Resurge". Variety. 17 May 2020. Retrieved 17 May 2020.
  16. ^ "How to Build a Girl". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 17 May 2020.
  17. ^ "How to Build a Girl Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved 17 May 2020.
  18. ^ Hornaday, Ann (6 May 2020). "Review | 'How to Build a Girl' is the teenage girl's answer to 'Almost Famous'". Washington Post.

External links[edit]