Teen Spirit: Film Review

Max Minghella – who you’ll probably know from The Handmaid’s Tale and The Mindy Project – has made his writing and directing debut with Teen Spirit, which is basically a dramatisation of shows like The X Factor.

The film follows Violet Valenski (Elle Fanning), a Polish-born girl living in the Isle of Wight in the UK with her single mother. She signs up to try out for TV talent show Teen Spirit but has to bring a guardian, so she recruits Vlad (Zlatko Buric), the drunk at the pub she works at, to be her manager.

The film excels in the performance sequences. Fanning has a beautiful voice, although it doesn’t have much power, and I really enjoyed her versions of Robyn’s Dancing on My Own and Sigrid’s Kill My Vibe. I didn’t think she was a good enough singer to progress to the furthest stages of the competition but you have to just go with it.

You’ll probably enjoy Teen Spirit more if you like pop music and these TV talent shows because there’s not much else going on, it’s basically just Violet trying to juggle the competition with her many responsibilities at home. Its attempts to recreate the televised performances expose the film’s low budget because they’re not as polished or have major production flourishes like The X Factor but it’s still fun to watch the cast sing pop songs, particularly Owl City and Carly Rae Jepsen’s Good Time. Outside of the performances, the film has a killer pop soundtrack, with songs like Katy Perry’s ET and Irene Cara’s What A Feeling playing in the background.

Fanning does a good job of portraying a young girl with way too much responsibility on her shoulders finally doing something for herself for once. Her British accent is believable and I was even more impressed with her Polish. Her friendship with the odd Vlad is the heart of the movie. He starts out as this weird creepy alcoholic but actually becomes an unlikely mentor. Rebecca Hall also has a small appearance as a shady record executive.

Teen Spirit is a nice enjoyable film that’s in need of more depth. I wanted to know Violet a bit better. The performances are fun and Fanning shines in this otherwise average pop drama.

Teen Spirit was released on Digital Download today and will be available on DVD from 14 October

Rating: 3/5

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: