How to Deal

July 18, 2003 0 By Fans
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A teenager (Moore), disillusioned by too many examples of love gone wrong, refuses to believe that true love exists. Then this new guy (Ford) comes along…

Release Year: 2003

Rating: 5.4/10 (6,009 voted)

Critic's Score: 45/100

Clare Kilner

Stars: Mandy Moore, Trent Ford, Dylan Baker

Halley is a young high school student who is disillusioned with love after seeing the many dysfunctional relationships around her. Her parents are now divorced and her father has a new young girlfriend she doesn't care for too much. Her mother is now always alone; and her sister is so overwhelmed by her upcoming wedding that she barely leaves the house anymore. On top of that, the shallowness of all the girls and guys at her school convinces Halley that finding true love is impossible. A tragic accident, however, leads her to meeting Macon, and suddenly Halley finds that true love can occur under unusual circumstances.

Writers: Sarah Dessen, Neena Beber


Mandy Moore

Halley Martin

Allison Janney

Lydia Martin

Trent Ford

Macon Forrester

Alexandra Holden

Scarlett Smith

Dylan Baker

Steve Beckwith

Nina Foch

Grandma Halley

Mackenzie Astin

Lewis Warsher

Connie Ray

Marion Smith

Mary Catherine Garrison

Ashley Martin

Sonja Smits

Carol Warsher

Laura Catalano

Lorna Queen

Ray Kahnert

Donald Sherwood

Andrew Gillies

Buck Warsher

John White

Michael Sherwood

Alison MacLeod

Sharon Sherwood

Rule #1 There are no rules.


Official Website:
New Line |

Release Date: 18 July 2003

Filming Locations: Birchmount Collegiate, Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Box Office Details

Budget: $16,000,000


Opening Weekend: $5,809,960
(20 July 2003)
(2319 Screens)

Gross: $14,108,518
(10 August 2003)

Technical Specs



Did You Know?


Is a combination of the Sarah Dessen novels "Someone like You" and "That Summer"


When Halley and Ashley are at Len and Lorna's place, when Len first takes a glass of champagne, he is not wearing a wedding ring. In the next shot, Len is holding the glass of champagne, wearing a wedding ring.


You have to learn to walk. You have to learn to talk. You have to wear that totally ridiculous hat your grandma bought you. You have no say in the matter. And when you get a little older, even though you get to choose your hats, you don't get to choose what they put in those meatballs in the cafeteria, or when to fall in love. Sometimes things happens and you just have to deal.

User Review

A pleasant surprise

Rating: 8/10

I almost considered passing up watching this one, but I'm glad I didn't.
This movie has all the hallmarks of a bad afterschool special, actually four
or five of them smashed together. But just when you think it's about to fall
off a cliff of cliches, something unexpectedly intelligent happens. Just
when it's about to turn into a tear-jerker, the director puts her camera,
almost joyfully, above the rain to show everyone shielding themselves with
the church program. Just when you think it's going to turn into a soppy love
story, the characters flee from each other, scared out of their minds at the
possibility. Just when you think it's going to be a soap opera, Mandy Moore
acts her way out of the paper bag that people seem to pigeon-hole her into.
You get the idea.

The actors all do well, especially Allison Janney, who puts a real edge to a
role that could have easily been mush. I must admit, though, Peter
Gallagher, usually a reliable guy, doesn't do much with his aging hipster
role. The real joy here is Moore. She's got just enough stuff to hook you
into the story, and she's just raw enough that she'll make you believe. And,
yeah, the dialogue is corny here and there, but not outrageously so. I have
to hand it to the director to keep everyone loose enough to pull off some of
these lines, and to make the shots interesting enough for us to care what
happens when they do.

The plot, which does have its convolutions and weird devices, is not nearly
as interesting as Halley's growth as a character. It's basically a character
piece wrapped in a teen romance. And Moore brings it all