How To Build A Girl

how to build a girl

I remember reading this book years ago, but if I’m being completely honest, that’s as far as my memory goes. Maybe I was too young to appreciate it back then as it certainly did not leave a lasting impression. That didn’t deter me from wanting to see the film adaption though, especially when I found out that Beanie Feldstein would be the star. Going in I was a bit apprehensive, but I came out loving what I saw!

Johanna Morrigan (Beanie Feldstein) knows she has a gift for writing and she wants nothing more than to be able to do this for the rest of her life. The fact that it would provide financial aid for her struggling musician of a father, her depressed mother, the brother she shares a bedroom with and the newborn twins is only a bonus.

When she applies for a gig as a music critic at a reputable magazine in London, nobody takes her seriously. As a regular sixteen year old girl from Wolverhampton, she is not what anybody in the industry was expecting. How could someone who was so witty and sharp in her articles come off as shy and quiet in person?

So, in order to get ahead, Johanna decides to adopt an alter ego by the name of Dolly Wilde. Dolly does not take crap from anybody and instead of singing the praises of the bands she critiques, she slams them and points out all their flaws. Johanna is no more as she transforms more and more into Dolly. Everything she used to believe in no longer seems important. She will stop at nothing to impress her male colleagues and to get ahead, all while keeping her sights set on musical artist John Kite (Alfie Allen), the one man who is out of her league.

A coming of age story, How To Build A Girl was such a lovely film that kept me transfixed throughout. Watching Johanna change everything about herself to fit in was extremely relatable and there were many instances where I saw myself in her.

The time frame of the movie is in the early nineties and I loved taking a look back at what our world was like back then. The bands that were popular and the fashion choices were a total nostalgia trip that I didn’t want to end. Even London was unrecognisable!

I also appreciated how original writer Caitlin Moran created the screenplay because she helped make this movie into what it was. Considering the events that transpired were partially based on her life, it would have been wrong not having her on board.

How To Build A Girl is one of those stories that stays with you long after you’ve watched it. Despite watching it one week ago now, I am still thinking about it with a smile on my face.

Rating: ♥♥♥♥

The Half Of It

the half of it

LGBTQ representation is so important though it is not always handled well on screen. How many times have I seen a movie where these individuals are sexualised or are only used as a plot device for the main character? That is why I appreciated The Half Of It. It was refreshing to finally come across a director who gets it!

This is the story of Ellie Chu (Leah Lewis), a smart teenage girl who works at the small railroad station in her hometown of Squahamish. Her mother passed away years ago and she does what she can to help take care of her dad (Collin Chou) who struggles to speak English. As a side gig, she writes the school assignments of her classmates, but aside from that, tends to stick to herself.

When popular jock Paul Minksy (Daniel Diemer) asks Ellie to write a love letter to Aster Flores (Alexxis Lemire) the prettiest girl in school, Ellie isn’t sure what do to. After thinking it over, she complies thinking it will be helpful for her and her father. As Ellie begins communicating with Aster, she starts to feel things she didn’t know was possible. However, the entire time Aster believes that she is speaking to Paul and she can’t figure out why he acts one way in person and another in his letters? How will she react once the truth comes out?

This movie was super cute! The love story was totally believable and I liked watching it blossom. The dynamics between Ellie and Aster, Aster and Paul and Paul and Ellie were all great to watch. Despite the inevitable love triangle and their social rankings at school, the friendships were rooted deep.

Another stand out aspect of this picture was the Asian representation. This is something that has only been present recently thanks to Crazy Rich Asians. And for our heroine to be gay as well is pretty groundbreaking. I don’t understand why this isn’t more common.

I have to admit that I did find parts of the film to be rather slow. I found it difficult to stay focused and would often be checking my watch for the time. But I also understand that the style worked for the storyline, so it didn’t bother me too much.

Rating: ♥♥♥.5

Dangerous Lies

dangerous lies

I love a good mystery though I go into them cautiously. There is nothing worse than becoming invested in the story, being on the edge of my seat to then end up disappointed by the big reveal. And because Netflix films are so hit or miss, I didn’t want to get my hopes up with Dangerous Lies. I’m glad I didn’t because I was left pleasantly surprised!

After a robbery at her diner job goes terribly wrong, Katie (Camila Mendes) is forced to leave and look for something else. Meanwhile, her husband Adam (Jessie T. Usher) has just finished his studies and is unable to find work. In order to make ends meet, she becomes a caregiver to an elderly man named Leonard (Elliot Gould). Over time, the two form a special bond and when Leonard discovers that Katie is struggling financially, he offers to help.

But when Leonard dies unexpectedly and leaves his house and estate to Katie, secrets start to unravel. The police don’t understand why this man has left everything he has to someone he only knew for four months.

Twist after twist, we are brought on a roller-coaster ride as Katie tries to decide who she can and cannot trust. And just when you think you have everything figured out, be prepared to think again! I’m so happy that I enjoyed this and I am still surprised as to how much. The plot was believable enough to be true and everyone of the characters was interesting.

Seeing Camila Mendes in something outside of Riverdale was refreshing. It’s so common to be pigeonholed into one type of character but that isn’t the case with her. Also, if you are a fan of teen dramas, you’d be able to recognise the likes of Cam Gigandet who had a small role in The OC and Twilight as well as Jamie Chung who most recently starred in The Gifted.

If you are looking for a fun, twisty thriller that will give you a couple of jumps, then this one is for you.

Rating: ♥♥♥♥

Love Wedding Repeat

love wedding repeat

If I remember correctly, the movie I probably should have been writing about now was the new James Bond, but because of these unprecedented times, I’m left with Love Wedding Repeat instead. Not that there’s anything wrong with this of course. It just isn’t the same. I actually had not heard about this film until I saw it on my Netflix feed, but I figured since it was a British comedy, I would end up liking it. Sadly it ended up being the complete opposite of what I expected.

Imagine that there are various ways in which a particular scenario can play out in your life. The only thing that changes each time is one small, minuscule detail. With this in mind, we find ourselves at Hayley (Eleanor Tomlinson) and Roberto’s (Tiziano Caputo) Italian wedding.

What is supposed to be a momentous and happy occasion is suddenly turned upside down when Hayley’s ex-boyfriend Marc (Jack Farthing) shows up uninvited. Hayley enlists the help of her brother Jack (Sam Clafin) to ensure that Marc stays out of everyone’s way – mainly Roberto’s and suggests giving him some of the heavy sleeping aids she’d been using lately.

But Jack has other things on his mind. A few years before, he spent an unforgettable evening with Hayley’s American friend Dina (Olivia Munn).The two seemed to hit it off, but he never made it clear to her that he felt some sort of spark causing them to part awkwardly. So when he sets off on his task to protect his sister on her special day, he doesn’t predict that fate will intervene once again.

Thinking he put the sleeping aid into Marc’s drink, Jack is excited to get back into Dina’s good books while dodging his ex-girlfriend Amanda (Freida Pinto). However, right before the reception starts, we see a group of children come in and change around everyone’s place cards. The drink that was supposed to be Marc’s now belongs to someone else entirely.

One of the things that I really did like about this movie was seeing the different outcomes play out on screen. Not only are the characters unaware of what is about to happen to them, but the audience is left in the dark too. Some of these results were funny while some  were a bit more on the serious side but it worked well together.

Also, because the film takes place in Italy, the cinematography and atmosphere were gorgeous. In addition, there were many Italian cast members which made everything more realistic.

I love British humor and there is nothing quite like a good British comedy (Love Actually, I’m looking at you). But Love Wedding Repeat did not meet my expectations. Some of the jokes fell flat and at times I really felt like it was trying too hard. There was too much going on and in the end, it was one big mess.

Rating: ♥♥.5