Stella Does Tricks

Director: Coky Giedroyc
Screenwriters: A. L. Kennedy

Institute History

  • 1997 Sundance Film Festival


Against the squalid underbelly of modern-day Britain, Coky Giedroyc’s assertive exploration of teenage prostitution and female vindication is a victorious feature debut. Using an ambitious narrative structure combining reality, memory, and fantasy, Giedroyc segues back and forth from the present to the imagined to memories of sufferings past. Without didactic moralizing or prurient fascination, Stella Does Tricks plumbs the heinous truth of its young heroine’s profession and the touching resonance of her plotted exodus.

Through the shredded lenses of its fifteen-year-old protagonist, Stella Does Tricks documents the biting reality of teenage prostitution on the streets of Glasgow and London. Stella is at the beck and deviant call of her paternal pimp Peters. When her best friend is attacked by one of Peters’s associates, Stella realizes the courage to escape her seemingly terminal condition. Aided by Eddie, a small-time hustler/junkie, Stella flees to Glasgow, hoping to exorcise the tormented demons of her childhood and forge a new, unfettered happiness. Avoiding the extremes of morality crusade or exploitation, Giedroyc focuses on the individual. With a devastating performance by Kelly MacDonald as Stella, Stella Does Tricks is an unforgettable portrait of a young girl’s catharsis.

— Rebecca Yeldham

Screening Details

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