Stella Does Tricks

Stella Does Tricks is a 1996 film about a young Glaswegian girl, played by Kelly Macdonald, working as a prostitute in London.

Stella Does Tricks
Directed byCoky Giedroyc
Produced byAdam Barker
Written byA. L. Kennedy
Music byNick Bicat
CinematographyBarry Ackroyd
Edited byBudge Tremlett
Distributed byStrand Releasing
Release date
  • 1996 (1996)
Running time
97 minutes
CountryUnited Kingdom

The film was the first feature film directed by Coky Giedroyc, inspired by her previous work making documentaries about homeless people in Glasgow, Manchester, and London, and provided Macdonald with her first film role after Trainspotting.[1] The film has been described as "an uncompromisingly feminist text, in which the Baby Doll turns Avenger",[2] and by Lawrence van Gelder of The New York Times as a "bleak, perceptive portrait of the prostitute as a young girl torn between the need for genuine love and a career of sexual exploitation".[3]

Despite the film centering on the lives of female prostitutes, the only nudity in the film is male nudity.[4]

The screenplay was written by the novelist A. L. Kennedy, and draws in part on one of her earlier stories, Friday Payday.[1][5] Cinematography was by frequent Ken Loach collaborator Barry Ackroyd.[6]


Stella is one of a number of young prostitutes working for the pimp Mr. Peters in London, having run away from her Glasgow home where she was sexually abused by her father, a stand-up comedian.[2][5] She tries to get away from Peters and becomes involved with Eddie, a heroin addict, before taking her revenge on Peters and her father.



  1. Allon, Yoram; Patterson, Hannah & Hodges, Mike (2001) Contemporary British and Irish Film Directors: A Wallflower Critical Guide, Wallflower Press, ISBN 978-1-903364-21-5, p. 111
  2. Campbell, Russell (2005) Marked Women: Prostitutes and Prostitution in the Cinema, University of Wisconsin Press, ISBN 978-0-299-21254-4, p. 302-304
  3. van Gelder, Lawrence (2001) Stella Does Tricks in The New York Times Film Reviews 1999-2000, Routledge, ISBN 978-0-415-93696-5, p. 230-231
  4. Leach, Jim (2004) British Film, Cambridge University Press, ISBN 978-0-521-65419-7, p. 142
  5. Petrie, Duncan J. (2004) Contemporary Scottish Fiction: Film, Television and the Novel, Edinburgh University Press, ISBN 978-0-7486-1789-0, p. 73
  6. McFarlane, Brian & Slide, Anthony (2003) The Encyclopedia of British Film, Methuen, ISBN 978-0-413-77301-2, p. 2, 251
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