Summary: Violet is a shy teenager who dreams of escaping her small town and pursuing her passion to sing. With the help of an unlikely mentor, she enters a local singing competition that will test her integrity, talent and ambition. Driven by a pop-fueled soundtrack, Teen Spirit is a visceral and stylish spin on the Cinderella story.
This will be a short review.
Elle Fanning. She plays Violet Valensky, a shy teenager who lives on Isle of Wight, in a small village. She wants to be a singer and things begin to happen to push her towards that dream. I’ve always liked Elle Fanning and she goes a really nice job with Violet. It’s like a Cinderella story so she’s unhappy with her life in how she’s stuck in the same old routine. She doesn’t often complain about it but in the way, Elle plays it and the way it’s filmed, it’s easy to tell that.
Other Characters. We meet a few other characters in the film, such as Violet’s mom who is a trip most of the movie and Agnieszka Grochowska was great to watch. Zlatko Buric as Vlad was great as her mentor. He was a former opera singer and they end up becoming friends. You’re not quite sure about him but he comes through when he needs to.
Use of Music. There are a lot of popular contemporary pop songs in this movie but a lot of them are either sung by Violet during the moments she sings in the film or they’ve instrumental. If they were just the regular songs, this would probably be in the cons because I really dislike the extreme use of pop songs in the film when there isn’t much of a reason for it to be there. But I quite liked how they were used in this film.
Relationship between Violet and Vlad. This is the relationship we see shown throughout the film and it starts out a little weird but it ends up growing on you as the movie goes on. Vlad is a washed-up opera singer and he mentors Violet, after she talks him into pretending to be her guardian so she could enter the competition without her mom knowing (her mom is strict). He is very protective of her as well, he’s a drunk so he never seems to quite commit to what he’s saying but you know that he cares. It also shows that she cares too even though they have this kind of sardonic banter. It’s kind of nice and they both play it nicely.
The Style/Tone. The style and tone of this movie confuses me because the story and the tone wants to war against each other. The film has this very dark and somber look and then story reflects that at times but then it turns into this “Pop star competition” for the story and I was just like “I don’t quite know if I like this”. It just comes off like “trying hard to make this rising singer’s story super sad”.
Extremely Cliché. Anytime there is a movie that deals with a character wanting to be a singer or anything like that, there are always going to be beats that it’s going to hit. This film hits a lot of them. Her mom being super hard on her for stupid things, the washout/drunk mentor, the shy lead, the evil record producer. I mean, I could get going lol and I was like “okay, this is going to turn out this way” and most of the time I was right. It’s hard not to predict these kinds of films because there are so many of them and this one doesn’t do anything new for me to be surprised by.
Weak Ending. So, we get this pretty awesome performance by Violet in her competition and then she goes out, hugs her mentor who is super excited for her doing so well. Then she walks away, we see a shot of her mentor getting off a train and then it cuts to Violet on a bus or something then it ends. My friend and I were like “wait what…” I don’t particularly like abrupt endings, especially when the rest of the movie had such a chill tone. Not to mention, you get more stuff in the credits and I’m like “man really?” I mean obviously I watch the credits because I like to and Marvel has groomed me lol, but still.
Overall, I think the movie good but it’s not anything to write to your mom about. Elle Fanning is the best thing about it to be honest. There’s other good stuff but she is a highlight. I really like her. She has a really nice singing voice so anytime she had to perform, I was into it. I think her best performance is her last one but the “Dancing” song was also a really good performance. “Lights” was okay, but I don’t think anyone sounds good singing that song lol. The use of the music throughout the film was also nice, normally, the inclusion of contemporary pop songs can drive me up a wall, but they were either sung or instrumental which helped. The relationship built between Violet and Vlad is really nice and while it starts off rocky and continues to be rocky in ways, it’s sweet because they clearly care for each other. Now, I think the style/tone is weird in this movie. It doesn’t quite match what the movie is about and I couldn’t help but think constantly in the movie that it shouldn’t be as “dark” film wise or as serious in tone when it doesn’t particularly need to be that. It’s sooo cliché and I’m not even going to go into that again. Then of course the ending is weak. Overall, the movie is fine. If you like music, then of course check it out.
Rating: 3.3 out of 5 stars.
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