An accomplished actress already at age 21, Elle Fanning finds another amazing role in “Teen Spirit.” Although any reality competition sounds silly, this charming Cinderella story surely does the trick.
Violet (Fanning) is a shy seventeen-year-old struggling through life lingering awkwardly around social circles and yearns for bigger, better things. Violet’s dream is to be a singer, but she struggles singing in random bars without her Mom knowing, juggling work, school and farm life.
During one of her performances at the local bar singing Tegan and Sara, Violet forms an unlikely friendship and mentor in an alcoholic, former opera singer Vlad (brilliantly portrayed by Zlatko Buric). Together they tackle pop stardom by entering into the international “Teen Spirit” singing competition with an amazing attempt at Robyn’s “Dancing On My Own.” Despite her natural talent, can Violet overcome obstacles and ambitiously address her shyness?
Fanning forges another awesome addition to her resume- talented singer. The old age question is whether to hire a singer who can act or an actor who can sing? Fanning’s pitch perfect interpretation of current, catchy pop music made me lose myself within the movie and have a great time. Although not an ambitious film, Fanning’s simply sensational vocal abilities elevate what would be just another run of the mill movie to another level. Directorial debuts are never easy and Max Minghella (The Social Network, The Handmaid’s Tale) creates an engaging, energetic and electric neon pop film. Visually and vocally hits the right notes.
The cookie-cutter coming of age story won’t warp your perspective, but believing in a crowd-pleasing simple story should satisfy your earbuds for 90 minutes. The magnificent music selection shouldn’t go unnoticed as Marius de Vries vast visionary soundtrack solidifies a fun film. All around audiences will be able to let loose and enjoy themselves with this stunning soundtrack.
If you’re expecting an arty or life-changing cinematic masterpiece, “Teen Spirit” won’t work for you. However, if you want a stylized, slick film featuring a standout performance from Fanning you won’t be disappointed. Minghella makes the clichés dissipate despite them lurking around and allow the audience to sit back and enjoy. Minghella’s delightful directorial debut completely captures his desire for filmmaking and demonstrates his keen eye for assembling an awesome cast amongst other things.
Zlatko Buric (“Pusher” trilogy) was the best surprise of the film. Sometimes certain character actors capture your attention and he absolutely runs with it in “Teen Spirit.” Considering the part was written for him, Buric’s believability of a lovable loser looking for redemption completely compliments Fanning’s insecure, intelligent Violet. They’re a perfect cinematic combination. Now sit back and let the movie magic make sweet music.
3 out of 4 Stars
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