Young women are increasingly starring in their own movies and telling their stories on their own terms.

The latest example is "How To Build A Girl," writer Caitlin Moran's real-life tale about the rise to fame and fortune of her rock journalist alter ego Dolly Wilde.

Based on the real-life adventures of Caitlin Moran, the award-winning journalist with an Irish father and an English mother, the film stars Beanie Feldstein as Johanna Morrigan, a young girl in the process of rechristening herself Dolly Wilde, becoming along the way the most prominent rock critic of her age (which happens to be the early 1990's). 

Beanie Feldstein's journey is the process of becoming and unbecoming Dolly Wilde.

Beanie Feldstein's journey is the process of becoming and unbecoming Dolly Wilde.

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Dolly also happens to be just 16 years old. Trapped in joyless Wolverhampton with some natural gifts that are surplus to requirements there (a way with words and a vague yearning for adventure) when we first meet her she's a plump teenage recluse who walks around school with a big target on her back.

It could all end there as quickly as it started we realize, with the number of significant hurdles already standing in her way: she's poor, she's overweight, she's a girl. Any victory she ever has will be three times itself when we reflect that she also has to overcome the sexism, discrimination and class prejudice of the real world. 

Luckily Dolly Wilde is played by Beanie Feldstein, 26, who manages the most persuasive midlands accent I've heard an American born actress attempt. It's no small acting triumph this, because the danger of doing what Tom Cruise did to "Far And Away" will haunt us all for generations.

It's her inexhaustible creativity and curiosity that save her. When her discreetly closeted gay brother Krissi (Laurie Kynaston) suggests she write a rock review for a famous weekly, she's delighted when they respond.

Laurie Kynaston and Beanie Feldstein star as Krissi and Dolly in How To Build A Girl

Laurie Kynaston and Beanie Feldstein star as Krissi and Dolly in How To Build A Girl

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But when she takes the big trip to London to meet them she discovers they're just a bunch of self-regarding posh kids who really don't want to help her and with whom she has nothing in common. 

It looks like her trail runs cold until Bjork's poster comes to life and delivers an inspiring speech about not taking no for an answer, especially if it's coming from prep school kids who can't see beyond the end of their privileged noses.

Dolly's persistence pays off and the next thing you know she's on a flight to Dublin to interview the rock singer John Kite (Game of Throne's Alfie Allen). Kite is a star on the rise who quickly clocks that she's a journalist in name only. He suggests they stop the interview and talk a walk through James Joyce's Dublin instead.

This turns out to be a good move as an unexpected friendship blossoms between the pair that results in him inviting her onstage to watch him perform that evening. Having come to the city to capture what makes him tick, Dolly ends up having her own heart captured.

Alfie Allen stars as rock singer John Kite in How To Build A Girl

Alfie Allen stars as rock singer John Kite in How To Build A Girl

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Along the way, there is Chris O'Dowd as a clueless midlands television presenter in an ill-fitting suit and glasses, who invites Dolly onto his program because she's won a 250 pound poetry prize for her poem about her best friend, which turns out to be her border collie. 

Dolly's nerve stricken TV debut makes her even more of a pariah at school, making her escape into the world of rock and roll writing an even bigger imperative, but the editors don't like what they call her far too slavish homage to singer John Kite. They can see through her schoolgirl crush and bin her feature, teaching her the first of many hard lessons, like good girls don't necessarily make the grade.

Reinventing herself once again she decides that if sincerity won't do, then maybe bitchiness will. It's a smart wager; her career takes off like a rocket. Soon she's paying her family's rent and making a killing though being cutting.

Beanie Feldstein stars as rock critic Dolly Wilde in How To Build A Girl

Beanie Feldstein stars as rock critic Dolly Wilde in How To Build A Girl

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But all this comes at a cost. Embracing her own darker impulses and not caring who she hurts she climbs the ladder to win British rock journalist of the year before she's even 21 and soon she's surrounded by the kind of stuck up men she earlier avoided and she's finding out the hard way they mock her when she turns her back and they will never truly accept her as one of their own. 

It's great to see all this happening to a girl for a change, even if we can see the iceberg's she's sailing toward ages before she does herself. It's just refreshing that it's happening to someone other than a boxer or a gangster, and it's even better when she decides it has to stop.

The real question asked in "How To Build A Girl" is whether the girl Dolly has built is the one she wants to be? Playing at being a celebrity rock critic is fine but her's starts having a body count, as she rises on the reputations she's trashing, at a predictable cost to her own happiness and spirit.

Change comes after she confronts her coworkers at a party. Having overhead her boyfriend say she's the mud that he cultivated to grow a flower on, she snaps. I'm ten times the writer all of you are, she says and they silently concede (Moran the writer has since one Writer of the Year, Columnist of the Year, Critic of the Year, etc).

If "How To Build A Girl" blurs the line between Dolly and the real-life Caitlin it's intentional, this is a 'how I made a version of myself to escape my humble beginnings then killed her off when I realized I didn't want to be at all her' tale. The trouble for Dolly is that she did much of that real-life growing up in the public eye where her private foibles became public fiascos.

Onscreen, Feldstein is supported by Paddy Considine as her deluded, but kind-hearted father, and Laurie Kynaston (best known for 1917) is fantastic as her young gay brother who's as witty as he is kind. With that kind of back up, a girl can go far. But it's Sarah Solemani as Dolly's mother Angie who wins the tears in this affecting drama.

“You're my magic girl,” she tells her daughter. “I'm an unhappy middle-aged woman, if I haven't been close to you much it's because I was afraid you'd catch it,” she says, in a scene that will literally kill you. 

"How To Build A Girl" tells the simple story of how a bright young girl stepped into herself and how after a few notable false starts found some success and love along the way. What could be better than that?

How To Build A Girl is now available on all download platforms.

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