How to Deal (2003)



Critic Consensus: Soap opera for teens.

Movie Info

Teen pop star Mandy Moore stars in the romantic comedy How to Deal. Directed by British filmmaker Clare Kilner, the script is based on two of author Sarah Dessen's popular teen novels: Someone Like You and That Summer. Halley (Moore) is a teenager trying to make sense of the faltering romantic relationships within her immediate social sphere. Her mother, Lydia (Allison Janney), can't seem get a date, while her father (Peter Gallagher) is getting remarried to a woman that nobody seems to like. … More

Rating: PG-13 (for sexual content, drug material, language and some thematic elements)
Genre: Drama, Comedy
Directed By:
Written By: Neena Beber
In Theaters:
On DVD: Jun 1, 2004
Box Office: $14.1M
New Line Cinema - Official Site


as Halley Martin

as Lydia Martin

as Macon Forrester

as Scarlett Smith

as Steve Beckwith

as Grandma Halley

as Lewis Warsher

as Marion Smith

as Ashley Martin

as Carol Warsher

as Len Martin

as Lorna Queen

as Donald Sherwood

as Buck Warsher

as Michael Sherwood

as Sharon Sherwood

as Elizabeth Gunderson

as Mr.Bowden

as Seamstress

as Ronnie

as Minister

as Big Burly Guy

as Ginny Tabor

as Mrs.Toussaint

as Reporter

as Marcella

as Dixie Cup Girl

as Steely Dan Fan

as Skanky Guy

as Female Fan

as Die-Hard Fan
Show More Cast

News & Interviews for How to Deal

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Critic Reviews for How to Deal

All Critics (101) | Top Critics (38)

The pop diva goes down with the bubbles in this hopelessly shallow soap opera.

July 31, 2003
Rolling Stone
Top Critic

I've seen a lot of dumb teen romances in the last couple years, but How to Deal, is a welcome exception.

Full Review… | July 21, 2003
Ebert & Roeper
Top Critic

Painless to watch, but it's marred by some significant flaws.

Full Review… | July 19, 2003
Top Critic

After a while the bad lighting, graceless editing, sluggish dialogue and self-conscious performances begin to seem like marks of authenticity, as if the movie had been made not just for and about teenagers, but by them.

Full Review… | July 19, 2003
New York Times
Top Critic

A bad, unimaginative story posing pretentiously as the very opposite.

July 18, 2003
Washington Post
Top Critic

Even Moore fans may find this hard to deal with.

Full Review… | December 24, 2010
Common Sense Media

Audience Reviews for How to Deal


Nice little teen movie featuring a younger Mandy Moore. I actually upped my rating half a star after a recent re watch. I can remember when I first bought this I found it so-so, but actually I think that was harsh.
Yes, it's a little too cute, but some very real issues are dealt with here such as parents breaking up, first love, and teen pregnancy. The cast are all just lovely. Alexandra Holden is quite an underrated actress, and I liked the guy who plays Mandy's boyfriend (not sure who he was).
Mandy's character, Halley is very spiky and strong for a teen movie. A nice change from the usual.
Enjoyable. Vastly better than many teen movies I have seen. Not bad soundtrack too.

Nicki Marie

Super Reviewer


I guess this is a chick flick, but I enjoyed it. Poor Halley suffers through her parents getting divorced, her best friend getting pregnant, her grandmother moving in - all at the age of 17. Because of all these failed relationships, she decides no love affairs for her, but of course fate has another plan for her.

Red Lats

Super Reviewer


Uhhhh, Mandy Moore is cute with short hair.

Jennifer Xu

Super Reviewer

How to Deal Quotes

– Submitted by Alyssa B (15 months ago)
– Submitted by Alyssa B (15 months ago)
– Submitted by Alyssa B (15 months ago)
– Submitted by Alyssa B (15 months ago)

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