Friday, April 19, 2019

Teen Spirit

With Teen Spirit writer/director Max Minghella offers an indie feel to a well-mined Hollywood tale of burgeoning stardom. Elle Fanning stars as a teenager on the Isle of Wight who, despite her mother's (Agnieszka Grochowska) disapproval, signs up for open auditions for a reality-TV series offering a record contract to the winner of the singing competition. Needing an adult to act as her guardian, and later manager, Violet taps the the old drunk Russian (Zlatko Buric) who enjoys her karaoke at the local dive bar. And, of course, it doesn't hurt when the film reveals that Vlad was once a well-respected opera singer.

Teen Spirit taps into all the expected tropes of its genre and also saddles the film with potential love interests for Violet, rivalry among the contestants, and Vlad's romantic interest in Violet's mother, that don't so much fizzle out as simply disappear. However, when the film focuses on Violet's talent and the odd relationship between her and Vlad, Teen Spirit musters up more than enough charm to keep your interest (and the soundtrack isn't too shabby, either). A Star is Born it is not, but Fanning's performance helps the film hit just enough notes to keep its rhythm.

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