We’ve seen a few singing prodigy films in the last year or so. Namely, the 4th remake of A Star Is Born starring Lady Gaga and Vox Lux starring Natalie Portman. What we haven’t seen is a singing competition film unless you count animated film Sing. In comes Teen Spirit which is definitely different than all of those films.
Elle Fanning makes this film stand out in her terrific performance as Violet, a 17-year-old polish farm girl on the Isle of Wight. She tends to her mother’s farm and all the animals that live there from cows to chickens. She also works as a waitress and is a full-time high school student. Not to mention she moonlights as a lounge singer on the side to make a few bucks for her household. This is her hobby but also her real passion which she has to hide from her mother because she wouldn’t approve. She wants Violet to concentrate on the farm, school and helping around the house. There is no time for singing in her mind. When she hears on the tv a British singing competition, called Teen Spirit, is coming to her island for the first time she can’t contain her excitement. However, Violet doesn’t want her mother to find out though. So, she enlists the help of an ex polish opera singer named Vlad, portrayed by Zlatko Buric, who insists on being her manager in order to help her get into the competition acting as her singing coach. Violet gets more than she bargains for when she realizes how much she needs to do to prepare for her auditions. She might be a little over her head. Not to mention the future growth of the show’s producers played by Rebecca Hall which causes it’s dramatic twist and turns along the way.
Much like current singing competition shows on television, such as “The Voice” and “American Idol,” Teen Spirit is very much like those shows. It was also a delight to listened with joy as Fanning and others sang songs from “Genesis” by Grimes, “Dancing on My Own” by Robyn, “Just A Girl” by No Doubt, “Don’t Kill My Vibe” by Sigrid”, Lights” by Ellie Goulding among other well-known pop songs. These songs help bring a melodic vibe to the film. The soundtrack is infectious to listen to throughout this film. It will ring familiarity throughout many audiences significantly those who enjoy this type of music. The film is so atmospheric and moody which can be a parallel for a teenager or just the color scheme.
Max Minghella is most known for his acting career in such films and TV shows as The Social Network and “The Handmaid’s Tale.” He has found his voice though in directing this wonderful film about a girl who finds her voice. Mixing this great soundtrack with a phenomenal performance from Elle Fanning, he has a winner on his hands. I definitely want to see what he has in store for his next film. Elle Fanning gives the performance of her career is this wonderful film. The music is incredible, the story is terrific, and the direction is spot on by Minghella. This is an amazing film for the first time director. Bleeker Street has gone outside the box with this one but, it paid off in a big way. This is one of my favorite films this year.
The Verdict – 4 out of 5 stars