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Film Of The Week Girl power guidance

MARIA DUARTE recommends an unusual take on a young woman’s aspirational struggle

How to Build a Girl (15)
Directed by Coky Giedroyc

FROM  friendless teenage working-class schoolgirl living on a Wolverhampton estate to 16-year-old music journalist sensation, this is a refreshing coming-of-age story about the larger-than-life Dolly Wilde.

Her transformation from a young woman who is comfortable in her own skin and takes no prisoners as she follows her dreams is based on Caitlin Moran’s 2014 semi-autobiographical novel which she has adapted for the screen.

Though set in 1993, in encouraging young women to pursue their life’s passion and aspirations on their own terms and to battle for gender equality, it’s very much a film with contemporary resonance as we follow the fortunes of the daydreaming yet hard-working A-grade student Johanna Corrigan (Beanie Steinfeld, magnificent) as she transforms into the red-haired force of nature, Dolly.

Sexually confident and able to rise to any challenge, she knows how to stop sexism in its tracks, despite her youth.

She follows the maxim that “a nice girl gets nowhere but a bitch can make a comeback” in order to be taken seriously at the all-male music magazine where she works.

After being laughed out of the office over her gushing schoolgirl fan-feature on singer John Kite (Alfie Allen), she realises that she needs to start slagging off bands and artists.

The more ruthless her reviews the more successful and ever-popular she becomes.

But the more hateful she becomes too, especially to her family and her jobless wannabe rock-star dad (Paddy Considine).

Her bubble is burst when she overhears her lover/workmate describing her at a hot-tub party as his bit of rough.

Dressed in just a bin-liner bikini, Dolly tells her male colleagues where to go with enviable self-confidence and panache.

This is a wonderfully entertaining and touching film which destroys stereotypes and shows how you can achieve all your goals by being the best and honest version of yourself.

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