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Girl on Film

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3.39  ·  Rating details ·  157 ratings  ·  38 reviews
Follow novelist Cecil Castellucci in this insightful memoir of making art, the nature of memory, and being a teenager in 80s New York City.

One thing young Cecil was sure of from the minute she saw Star Wars was that she was going to be some kind of artiste. Probably a filmmaker. Possibly Steven Spielberg. Then in 1980 the movie Fame came out. Cecil wasn’t allowed to see th
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Paperback, 160 pages
Published November 19th 2019 by Archaia
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Average rating 3.39  · 
Rating details
 ·  157 ratings  ·  38 reviews


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Julie Ehlers
Nov 24, 2019 rated it really liked it
I've only read a couple of Cecil Castellucci's books (The Plain Janes and Janes in Love, to be specific) and I was kind of lukewarm on them, so I'm not sure why I was so on fire to read Girl on Film. Fortunately, my instinct turned out to be correct: This was a SUPER FUN memoir-in-comics. It serves as both a coming-of-age tale of Castellucci's determination to live a creative life (or "art life," as she calls it) and a vibrant depiction of the art scenes in Manhattan in the 1980s and Montreal in ...more
Mary McCoy
Dec 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This is a very special book about what it means to be an artist, not just the follow-your-heart passion parts, but the harder parts as well: disappointment, frustration, the moments where your reach exceeds your grasp, and outright failure. But in this book, none of that is a tragedy or cause for bitterness. It's part of the journey, it's what constructs an artist's heart, and it's beautiful.
Alicia
I get it and recognize what it was trying to accomplish, but it felt like it was trying to do too many things at once. The interruptions with her father discussing memory where just that, interruptions-- it needed to be either a more omnipresent part of the storytelling to seamlessly fold into the narrative or pull it out altogether.

And I'm certainly not judging/rating her memoir/life story which is sometimes how it feels rating a nonfiction biography or memoir, but this simply didn't tell a fo
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Jenn Estepp
2 1/2? I feel like there was a point in my life when I would've been all about this book. But that point is not now, when it felt a little pretentious and name-droppy. And I very rarely like it when authors interrupt their straight memoir to make cultural or philosophical or whatever-al points, which happens frequently here.
Ash
Dec 28, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: comics
I enjoyed following the ebb & flow of Cecil's artistic life and the conversations about memory with her father. There was so much time spent on her high school & college-age years, though, and I wanted the same for her adult years in LA. But I'm in my thirties and very interested in how the creative life is lived beyond your twenties. Would highly recommend for budding artists. ...more
Esmée
Dec 17, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: arc
A really cool way of looking at growing up wanting to be an artist. I liked how it was interspersed with theory on memory as it is a memoir. The art was really good as well!
Dakota Morgan
Mar 25, 2020 rated it it was ok
Girl on Film is interesting, but it's also very, very exhausting. Cecil Castellucci spends the majority of this memoir dissecting what she could have been/wanted to be while attending an arts high school and NYU. She also name-drops wildly. Like, how could one person have met so many cultural figures of the 80s? It's not exactly annoying since she's clearly not bragging, but it's far too obvious.

All the "I had such dreams" talk reads as pretentious, unintentionally or not, and quickly grows wear
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Brittany
Oct 01, 2020 rated it did not like it
Shelves: graphic-novels
If you want to read a list of famous people's names, you have come to the right book. The author seemed to want to just name drop and not actually get on with things. Additionally, while I saw what they were trying to do with the interruptions from the father about memory, it just seemed too complicated in contrast with the lightweight reading the rest of the story was. The whole thing just felt like concept art and not really a finished product.
Wendy
Jan 03, 2020 rated it really liked it
When Cecil Castellucci first saw Star Wars: A New Hope, her future was sealed. She would become a filmmaker. Girl on Film is her journey to not quite reaching that destination. Full review at WWAC ...more
Kristin Boldon
Dec 04, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2019, memoir, own, comic-book
A good memoir, mixing science theory on memory with personal history of an artist's development. I found the multiple artists distracting. I would have preferred only 2 for the contrast. Four made it feel muddled.
orangerful
While Castellucci looked back at her formative years in high school and college, when she dreamed of working in independent film, but she also seemed to struggle with the act of looking back. This memoir starts out as a straight forward autobiography, then suddenly breaks out into a discussion of memory and how it changes over time. This wasn't necessarily a bad idea, but I started to find that conversation more interesting than her actual story. And I honestly found the final pages kind of depr ...more
Ben Truong
Girl on Film is an autobiographical graphic novel written by Cecil Castellucci and illustrated by the team of Vicky Leta, Jon Berg, V. Gagnon, and Melissa Duffy. It chronicles the life of a noted Young Adult author as she reflects on her path to creative fulfillment.

Cecil C. Castellucci is an American-born Canadian young adult novelist, indie rocker, and director. She currently lives in Los Angeles, California.

Castellucci felt destined to become a filmmaker – not just an artist, but an artiste a
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Suzanne
Jun 20, 2020 rated it it was ok
Maybe I was too old for this, or something. I didn't love her declarations on every page that she was going to be an Artiste! That she was going to make award winning films! That and the name dropping, which really needs to be done in the right way not to be annoying, and that she went to the coolest high school in the united states, left me cold. Even though I know she was employing the self awareness that she was not on the path she thought she was, I didn't love it. There were long excerpts ...more
Sharon
Mar 28, 2020 rated it really liked it
Memoir and meditation on memory. Castellucci dives deep into her name-dropping young adulthood, discussing the neurological problems of memory with her father in an overlay. Dreams change, and maybe they should. The book loses steam at the end, rushing through then dropping the ball when it gets to her actual career as a writer. Art matches very well considering how many artists are involved. Nicely done.
Morgan Myers
First off: finally a graphic novel that isn’t sci-fi, social issues, or superheroes! (I am now referring to these as the 3 S's of graphic novels because that's all there ever seem to be anymore.) I don’t see enough graphic novels in adult literature. And it’s more suited for graphics, I think, because of the lack of a real storyline.

One might not expect a story about a journey into filmmaking to be a rip-roaring adventure. Especially because this book is much more about art itself than filmmaki
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Caroline Cogswell
Dec 08, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: books-31-40
This is a fantastic book to use as a read aloud for fourth grade and up. It is about a girl named Cecil who was inspired by the original star wars movie in the 80's to become an artist. Then a new movie called "Fame" came out but the problem was Cecil was 10 and the movie was rated R. However, this did not stop Cecil from fantasizing about her dream of becoming an artist. Throughout the book she displays her passion to one day turn that dream into reality. Not only does this expose students to d ...more
Sunny Carito
Jan 06, 2020 rated it liked it
I would say 2.5. I liked the discussion of the changing relationship you can have with art and I even liked the breaks where she discussed memory with her father, but I felt the way the story was told and paced was lacking, there seemed like there was a lot of name dropping which was confusing in that the art didn’t really make the ones directly dropped recognizable. The thing that got to me the most though was the mistakes in the text, which for an acclaimed ya author was surprising. I think th ...more
Nicole Gauvreau
I saw this while at work a while back, and thought it sounded interesting, so when I found it on Hoopla through the library , I though "why not".
This wasn't bad, but ultimately I was most intrigued by the interludes of Cecil's conversations with her father on how memory works and the accuracy of memory, which probably shouldn't have been my take away. Even without the interludes (which did sometimes connect things), the story was bit scattered and I'm not sure if this is typical of Cecil Castell
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Rachael
Tw: drinking, smoking, sexual assault.
You've been warned.
That said, I loved this book. I loved the storytelling, the artwork, the way Castellucci's life as an artist connects with her life as a human being. The writing invites you into New York City in the 1980's and into the process of becoming the writer of numerous novels and graphic novels. If this could be optioned, that would be shiny. But if not, the cinematic way the story is told through words and multiple illustrators styles, give it
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Jean
This was interesting, if not mind-blowing. I like the idea of a graphic novel memoir and the art and story are good, but it felt a little scattered. I did sometimes struggle to follow the story, especially with the interruptions of her and her father discussing memory (which on its own was fascinating, but just didn’t flow well with the narrative). I also got a little bored with the name-dropping after a while. It’s an interesting concept and a book fans of the author I’m sure will enjoy, but if ...more
dearlittledeer
This was a really interesting look at Cecil Castellucci's early years. Even if you aren't familiar with her other book, I'd recommend it to someone who's interested in filmmaking and/or storytelling. I LOVED all the namedropping/hinting at her celebrity friends and acquaintances (Chaz Bono, Jennifer Aniston, Mo Willems, to name a few...) I felt like the scenes looking at the science of memory weren't really my thing but someone else may enjoy them.
Bill
Mar 29, 2020 rated it it was ok
I think this would be both inspirational and instructive for the right audience of very serious arts-'n-theater kids. That audience wasn't me, as it turns out (I am old now, and even in my teen years I was a very UN-serious arts-'n-theater-adjacent kid who just liked acting goofy and making kids laugh), but that's okay. I did enjoy the bits where she talks with her dad the neuroscientist about how memory works, so there was that!
Kate Ringer
Ehhh. Wanted it to be better. I think this is written for a very select audience (those who want to go into film) and that just really isn't me. A ton of references that I didn't get, and didn't care enough to look up. Also random interludes where she talked about memory with her father that I found extremely boring and hardly relevant. I see what she was going for, just didn't think it was particularly well executed.

Read this to prep for teaching it this year.
Tabrizia
Her story was intriguing but not interesting enough for.me to continue. I don't know, maybe I'm having a hard time understanding why her story differs from any other ambitious story and she can write a memoir. Also there were times when she went off tangent which messed up the flow of the narrative.
Danielle
Jun 11, 2020 rated it liked it
This was kind of pretentious, but full of passion in the way that makes you want to follow your dreams and make it big. There was a lot of namedropping that I found kind of annoying, but otherwise I generally liked it. There was a lot of heart with a lot of flaws.

2.5 stars.
Alodie Larochelle
Aug 14, 2020 rated it really liked it
Didn't expect to relate this much to this memoir, but that's what happened and I'm pleased. As I ponder about memory and am losing/misremembering my own life due to trauma, and am considering making a graphic memoir before I lose even more memories, this felt very relevant.
V Rendina
Aug 28, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Cecil Castellucci is one of my all time favorite comic writers. Getting to know her in the form of graphic memoir was an absolute delight. I laughed, I cried. It's both an incredible and powerful read.
Jaime
Nov 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This is just what I needed today. Such a great book about being an artist and what art means and producing art. Definitely going to be rereading this soon for more inspiration.
wildct2003
Dec 26, 2019 rated it it was ok
Disappointed. Did not finish. Story was not compelling enough for me. Also, story was interrupted several times by her parents discussing memory.
Jaclyn Hillis
Jan 15, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-comix
I love that she never gave up on her lifelong dream, even if that dream did change, she kept making art.
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Cecil Castellucci is an author of young adult novels and comic books. Titles include Boy Proof, The Year of the Beasts (illustrated by Nate Powell), First Day on Earth, Rose Sees Red, Beige, The Queen of Cool The Plain Janes and Janes in Love (illustrated by Jim Rugg), Tin Star Stone in the Sky, Odd Duck (illustrated by Sara Varon) and Star Wars: Moving Target: A Princess Leia Adventure.

Her short
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