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“Teen Spirit” Uplifting and Entertaining




Review by John Delia

A tribute to teen singers who have taken the plunge into a career that could bring them greatness, the film Teen Spirit is uplifting and entertaining. Directed at the teen crowd with the ladies being the target, the film certainly will be a big hit with them. But, don’t be surprised if it becomes a bit hit with the men and the 20 something market as well. I like Elle Fanning in this role and she nails the main character with every song and movement of her on the screen.

Living with her single mother on a small farm on the Isle of Wight in the United Kingdom, 17-year-old Violet Valenski (Elle Fanning) dreams of being a great singer someday. But, until then she tends the cattle, brushes the horses, helps around the house and other chores. The money is not frequently coming in since her father left many years before, so after school she works in the local pub where she also sings on its stage at Karaoke night.


Elle Fanning as Violet in TEEN SPIRIT from Bleecker Street Media


One evening after the pub closes an old man, Vlad (Zlatko Buric), gives her a ride home when she misses the local bus. He’s impressed with her singing and she tells him her dream of becoming noticed. On the way to school the next day she sees a billboard offering tryouts for and international singing competition called “Teen Spirit”. She tries out and finds the local judges in the selection would like her to return for the second step, but must bring a parent or guardian. Knowing that her mother Maria (Agnieszka Grochowska) would not allow her, she confronts Vlad with a proposition of him being her manager if she wins.


Elle Fanning stars as Violet in TEEN SPIRIT, an LD Entertainment and Bleecker Street release.
Credit: LD Entertainment | Bleecker Street


Thus begins a story of a young girls grasp for fame and a man who sees hope in himself through her in this twisting film that delivers a heart winner. Directed and written by Max Minghella the film introduces the characters early on and sets up a story that takes teens on a journey of expectation and aspirations. What follows the initial warm up makes it a winner with Violet’s try to make it to the finals of the biggest international singing broadcast in the world.

While the story may seem a bit clichéd, it’s the actors and direction that make it worth the watch. Elle Fanning is at her best with this performance that seemed to be made for her. While I love her deep dramatic role in Galveston as her best ever effort, this one is a teen crowd-pleaser and one that won’t go unnoticed by pre-teens, teens and her peers. She not only embodies Violet, but that’s her singing up a storm in the film as well with songs like “I was a Fool”, “Orbit”, “Dancing On My Own”, “Lights” “Little Bird”, “Good Time”, “Don’t Kill My Vibe”, and “Wild Flowers”. If the finale doesn’t blow you away, then the film just isn’t your cup of tea. On the horizon for Elle is the comedy Woody Alan’s A Rainy Day in New York opposite Timothee Chalamet (Beautiful Boy).


Elle Fanning stars as Violet and Tamara Ronchese as Angel X in TEEN SPIRIT, an LD Entertainment and Bleecker Street release. Credit: Parisa Taghizadeh / LD Entertainment | Bleecker Street


As for one of the best supporting characters that have come along so far this year, Zlatko Buric as the has been opera star lost in a tankard of ale gives a memorable performance. He’s the other half of the relationship that will win your heart and turn you into a believer. Doing his best to guide Violet in the right direction and putting his down-spin aside, he urges her to just sing from her soul.

Teen Spirit has been rated PG-13 by the MPAA for some suggestive content, for teen drinking and smoking. Be cautious when deciding to allow immature children see the film as it does have some scenes that are inappropriate for youngsters.

FINAL ANALYSIS: A very good film for teens and up. (for teens 4 out of 5 Stars)

Additional Film Information:
Cast: Elle Fanning, Agnieszka Grochowska, Archie Madekwe, Millie Brady, Vivian Oparah,
Directed and written by: Max Minghella
Genre: Drama, Music
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for some suggestive content, and for teen drinking and smoking
Running Time: 1 hr. 32 min.
Opening Date: April 19, 2019
Distributed by: Bleecker Street Media
Released in: Standard

The film is opening in at the following theaters April 19. Please check local listings for showtimes.

West Florida

AMC Bradenton 20, AMC Regency 20 in Brandon, AMC Sundial 20, AMC Sarasota 12, AMC Woodland Square 20, AMC Highwoods 20, AMC Veterans Expressway 24, AMC West Shore 14, Regal Citrus Park 20, Regal Park Place Stadium 16, Regal Hollywood 18 in Port Richey, Countryside 12, Lakeside Village 18 & Imax, Cinebistro in Siesta Key, Cobb Tyrone Luxury 10, Cinebistro in Hyde Park 6


AMC Sunset Place 24 Theatres, AMC Aventura Mall 24 Theatre, Cinepolis Grove 15, The Landmark at Merrick Park 7

Ft. Lauderdale:
AMC Pompano Beach 18

Orlando Area:
AMC Avenue 16/Melbourne, AMC New Smyrna Lux 12

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