Teen Spirit (2018) Poster


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Screenwriting at its worst!
PanosKou3 May 2019
This movie had so much potential, but the screenwriter did a rushed and awful job. So many side stories on the movie could have been expanded in order to make it rich for our thirsty eyes. The end was so abrupt that made me think that they finished it in a hurry because they were running out of budget. I recommend seeing it but without high expectations, or else you will be disappointed.
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savinty6 September 2019
I like Elle very much, but this was a big mistake to accept the part in this movie. Boring role, slow movie, weak story ... a waste of time. Too bad. I gave it a 5 instead of 4 because I'm Elle's fan for some years now.
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Novice screenwriter/director's take on a teen vocal competition proves mediocre at best
Turfseer1 July 2019
Warning: Spoilers
Teen Spirit is British actor turned first time screenwriter Max Minghella's directorial debut. It's a drama about an American Idol-like contest in the UK. Minghella's protagonist is Violet Valenski (Elle Fanning), a teenager of Polish origin who resides on the Isle of Wight (where Minghella himself hails from).

The plot is rather simple: Violet is taken under the wing of one Vlad played by the Croatian actor, Zlatko Buric. He plays a washed up opera singer who offers to be her manager. Buric is supposed to play a character who's endearing but physically he's unpleasant to look at (not only disheveled but overweight to boot). I'm not sure why we're supposed to root for Vlad, especially after he offers to represent Violet for 50% of the winnings. Only after Violet's ballsy mother sets him straight about his remuneration as manager, is Violet permitted to try out for the contest.

There's very little else to say about Teen Spirit. I suppose if Vlad had a little bit more of a backstory, things could have been a bit more interesting. But he doesn't and has little to do in his interactions with Violet (there's a brief scene where he gives her some perfunctory breathing exercises). There's also a rather predictable twist when Violet fails to get selected for the show but later is accepted when the girl to whom she initially lost is disqualified.

A subplot involving an aggressive record club exec trying to sign Violet to an exploitative record contract results in one of the few moments of tension-this leads to a brief falling out between Vlad and Violet but things of course are made whole in the end.

As for the Teen Spirit contest itself, we find out virtually nothing about Violet's rivals. What's more Fanning proves to have a decent enough voice but we wonder why she ends up winning the contest. In other words, her Violet character is thoroughly average. A few of the covers she sings are decent enough (Elle Goulding's "Lights" stands out) but most of the songs (and dancing) are simply not memorable.

Teen Spirit is also one of the new films that is technically below average. Just about the entire film is darkly lit and one occasionally misses the action because of the poor cinematography.

If you like American Idol or the X-Factor you might want to see this, but the bottom line is that novice writer Minghella has a ways to go before he comes up with something significantly compelling and original!
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Deathly Boring
skye-richards3 July 2019
I am glad that Elle Fanning got to showcase her genuine vocal talent in this movie through the character Violet which is rare for most actors in singing roles.

What ruined this movie though was the screen play which was deathly boring and mediocre. I am not the biggest fan of Elle Fanning, but she can do much better than this, had it not been for her this would have been a complete waste.
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A musical emancipation
FrenchEddieFelson2 July 2019
In this copacetic teen movie, the duo Elle Fanning + Zlatko Buric is certainly unexpected but vigorously endearing. Vlad is going to play the role of a substitute father and a manager for Violet, an uptight teenager who will try to take part in the Teen Spirit singing contest. This will prove to be for herself an unexpected opportunity to leave her small country town polluted by contemptuous rednecks, to become emancipated and eventually to join a completely different world forever, as in a fairy tale.

In addition to the two main actors Elle Fanning and Zlatko Buric, Agnieszka Grochowska and Rebecca Hall are excellent supporting roles. And Teen Spirit (2018) is the very first movie directed by Max Minghella. Therefore, a minimum of indulgence is imperative.

As a synthesis, the actors, the atmosphere, the photography, the soundtrack, ... yes!
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World record in cliches
pekotski29 July 2019
Two minutes don't go by without cliche. I don't know how I managed to survive till the end. Wasted time.
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a poor movie and a big waste of Elle Fanning's incredible talent
fnine12 April 2019
Was this film necessary ? or is it an other drop on the ocean of futile movies ?
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Mesmerizing Performance by Fanning Here
larrys321 July 2019
Another mesmerizing performance by Elle Fanning, as she portrays 17-year-old Violet Valenski, an aspiring singer living with her mother on a farm on the Isle of Wight, UK. Fine performances by Zlatko Butic and Agnieska Grochhowska add much to the film as well.

I see many reviewers disliked the movie, but I found it to be a good combination of strong acting, dramatic tension, music, and even some well placed humor. Yes, the film can be formulaic, at times, but overall I thought it was well worth the watch.

The most solid actor Max Minghella makes his feature film directorial debut here as well as adding his second screenplay, after the powerful "The 9th Life of Louis Drax".
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Terrible movie
rickypinela20 April 2019
Elle Fanning's character was so boring. I fell asleep twice. I'm only giving this a 4/10 and not a 1/10 because I love Elle Fanning. I can't believe how bad this movie was!
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Lost the way and not good where it ended up
mejaflora12 July 2019
20 mins in, I had to recheck the plot on imdb to check again where is this movie going. What was I looking for? Something different maybe, something unexpected. But nope, the plot said it will test her integrity, talent and ambition. So without watching, let me guess, greedy producers who try to get everything from her, try to corrupt her with glitz glamour, some boys trying to seduce her in the midst. Yup there it is. Even the performances and songs become a bore. Elle Fanning was good in some movies, in this one her sour and dour expressions stayed from start to finish. At first in dealing with a single mother, a crumbling house, school, her peers everything is so freaking depressing. Then she gets her dream and still so sad. Then she finish the last song and looked like she just broke her own heart. Pop stardom is not in her spirit, I'm afraid.
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powerful, genuine and electrifying
Raven-196913 November 2018
Open-mic night on the Isle of Wight, singing to her horse and dancing alone in her room, shy 17 year old Violet (Elle Fanning) needs a lot of luck to become the pop star of her dreams. But according to Vlad, the sole person that claps for Violet on open-mic night, luck has nothing to do with her talent. A former opera singer and famous in Croatia, Vlad just might know what he is talking about. With Vlad encouraging Violet to work on her breathing and range of voice, and despite thinly veiled threats from Violet's single mom as well as from competing singers, the odd duo enters a televised musical talent program called Teen Spirit. "Sing from your heart" says Vlad "it's your soul and spirit that people will see." Helpful advice, but a lot of people want to tell Violet what to do and she does not know who to trust.

Despite a wee bit of predictability, Teen Spirit is powerful, genuine and electrifying. Fanning is ideal for the part. Her moods, alternating from hopeful to despair, are perfectly compatible with her character as well as the ups and downs of the story. The music and singing are wonderful too. "I am dancing on my own, right over here," Violet sings "why can't you see me?!" All I wish for is a little more depth to the dialogue. Seen at the Toronto international film festival.
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Incredibly Slow Burning With Almost No Heart
flowerstardust197915 July 2019
If you are expecting a light happy hearted little musical number, where you are routing for the main character. This isn't it!

Incredibly slow paced, depressing and boring. You don't connect with any of the characters, you don't connect with Violet, neither do you end up routing for her, because the character is just so boring. Violet is neither likeable or unlikeable. There is just nothing there at all. She mumbles with a constant sour expression, which I guess is understandable, given her life. But not once does she cheer up!

I don't really get the movie at all. I am not really sure in which direction it was intended to go in, or whether it just didn't come across as it was intended. Is she an underdog? Yes. Does she really want to win? I don't know. Does she care if she loses? I am not sure. Didn't feel like it! Was she happy at any point during her journey? I don't think so. So what was the point?

To sum up, Great soundtrack, Elle has a nice little voice, the songs were catchy. But that is the best you will get out of Teen Spirit. It is incredibly boring, and there's just really not any emotional connection with the character, which is it's biggest problem.

Elle Fanning is a very talented actress, but her talent was wasted on this film. Max Minghella is a talented actor, but as a director and writer, not so much. I recently watched another movie he wrote, The 9th Life Of Louis Drax, another extremely slow burn, with the same sort of feel. Though the latter at least had a worthwhile ending.

Teen Spirit is a time passer, if there is nothing else to watch. Though i'm sure anyone under the age of 20 will enjoy it.
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Elle Fanning's acting was the only good thing.
pediatricgrime6 July 2019
Without Elle the movie wouldn't have been made, I think. Or rather, it shouldn't have been made. The story is simplistic, the characters so thin, the viewer don't care about them at all.
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Quite bland
jaredd19 July 2019
The first two thirds of the film put me on life support. There was a glimmer of hope near the end, but then the film was over and I realized we never got anywhere. Not satisfying at all and really a waste of time unless you're just a massive Elle Fanning fan.

What makes a good film can be subjective, but a critical concept is that you need proper pacing and contrast between different types of scenes. Nobody wants 60 minutes of the camera pointed at a tree... They tried to put a couple things in, like the scene involving a horse and then some drinking later on, but it was seriously still a bore.

I got a few "Smash" (TV series from 2012) flashbacks while watching this but that was probably just my brain trying to stay awake...
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Oh... So what?
tcmiles-8116321 August 2019
I love Elle Fanning, but this was bad. The writing was boring and it's impossible to get attached to any character. There were multiple sub plots that started, but they never led anywhere. Honestly, it's not even worth the time watching this. Just watch the "Lights" cover scene and you'll be good.
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pretty good
casey-9104722 April 2019
So Teen Spirit was a pretty good movie, it's biggest issue is that it has a very predictable plot if i told you the basic plot summary (a teenage girl in a small town enters a singing competition) you could guess exactly where it goes. The other problem I have is that all the characters are very 1 dimensional and don't have a lot to them even though all the actors did a pretty good job. However on a technical level teen spirit is very well made. Despite my gripes the excellent sound editing and mixing makes it worth seeing in a theater if you don't have a nice sound system at home. The songs in the movie are also great, despite being cover songs they are very well performed and the scenes they are in are very well shot.
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Lacks heart.
Azanspy28 July 2019
Teen Spirit is that movie which showcases how talented the lead actor is. Elle Fanning was simply brilliant in this movie and there's no doubt that she will be a future star. But the movie is almost it. Just Elle Fanning and a very good soundtracks. The movie is cliche and there's nothing new to it than some good visuals. The characters didn't have any depth apart from Fanning's Violet. Overall, Teen Spirit is watchable for Elle Fanning and the songs.
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This was like high school drama project
MustBeLogic10 July 2019
Terrible screenplay, bad directing, horrible supporting actors, especially the old guy pretended to be a famous opera singer, and his presence making this hollow movie even more shallow. The storyline is like a animal blazed trail in the wilderness, if you don't pay attention, you don't even know where it is. There's nothing in this movie except some so so songs. Because of the awkward script, Elle Fanning was forced to play a boring and hollow character. There's no way a person like she played could sing from the heart. I rarely found a movie with such huge nothingness to tell. Horse, goat, sunset, stage lights, some young bimbos in high school, plus a loner, an outsider, a poor farm Polish girl on the Isle of nothing. This is one of the most awkward movies in recent years, with nothing to tell, just throw in several teen songs to make up a movie. Jesus....
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I liked it, but I wanted more
TheTopDawgCritic7 July 2019
I was pleasantly surprised that one of my favorite characters Nick, from the Handmaid's Tale, Max Minghella, made his directorial debut, and also wrote (his second writing credit) this film.

His directing was excellent, the cinematography on point, and the story was good, but I feel the ending was rushed... I wanted more. Decent time was spent in the beginning building the characters and the story, then near the end the 'conflict' between Violet and Vlad just happened/ended too quickly, and the ending was just too simple and basic, without any more story between Violet and Vlad, and even her mother. Maybe it was editing issues to keep the film at 93 mins, but I would've liked another 15-20 mins added to the ending.

The score/soundtrack was excellent, and wow did Elle Fanning show her vocal/stage talent. She played her character really well, maybe a little too bland, but nevertheless, she was convincing in her role. Zlatko Buric also nailed his role, and for that matter, the rest of the cast were great and convincing.

I'm not sure why some people are hating on this film, especially coming from a novice director and writer - I think he did great, and the story was entertaining and captivating. Sure the writing could've been tighter, but cut the guy some slack considering I've seen worse writing from seasoned writers.

Nevertheless, I recommend this film and thoroughly enjoyed it. It's a well deserved 8/10 from me, and hope to see more from Max Minghella. And if anyone is questioning my review as fake, click on my username and you will see my 1000+ ratings and 600+ reviews.
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Throughly enjoyable movie
lt_texan18 October 2019
Too short, I wanted more character development and fleshing out of the events. Good acting all around. Of course it was a bit cliche (movie about a talent contest and expected outcome- duh!) And was Ms Fanning acting or performing the musical parts? Very impressive. I really enjoyed the music.
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Criminally Underrated; A must see for music fans
soundoflight11 August 2019
"Teen Spirit" completely blew away my expectations. Due to the lack of attention this film has garnered and the lackluster IMDB rating, I almost didn't watch it at all. But the trailer looked cool so I took a chance on it, and I'm so glad I did. Goes to show that in this day and age, one must be their own critic.

Elle Fanning gives a knock-out performance, easily the best of her career. This is the kind of film that needs to be carried by the lead, and she does that in spades. She is highly watchable, yet highly relatable and believable as a poor Polish girl, even speaking Polish in the film! And Zlatko Buric's "Vlad" character is the perfect foil.

The direction and cinematography are masterful. I didn't expect a film like this to look beautiful, but it does look beautiful. Shots are carefully planned and arranged, and everything from quick jump cut montages to long pan shots are used. It all adds up to something visually interesting. My favourite shot of the film was a long single take as the camera watches Elle/Violet makes her way through the many backstage corridors to the stage. So much is communicated in this sequence, without a word being spoken. And that motif of silent communication and using subtle visuals to tell a story is something that is carried throughout the film. We don't get the story of the other singers in the competition, but you see them reacting on the side of the shots, and in a way you kind of do get their stories too. "Teen Spirit" has a surprising amount of depth to it.

And finally, any film about that portends to be about music, must have good music. "Teen Spirit" makes the wise choice of going with a selection of slightly off-mainstream pop hits as opposed to filling it with music written just for the film. Songs that are not nauseatingly overdone, but still great music. Any film that opens with Grimes gets an immediate bonus point in my book.

This is the best film I've seen so far in 2019. I can't even begin to explain how or why it's not more widely liked. Perhaps it's just a matter of timing - people thinking it's just another "A Star Is Born." But that was a remake, and this is an original, and in my opinion better, film.
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Stylish with solid performances
rivertam2615 February 2020
Elle Fanning shines in this familiar tale about a poor young woman who dreams of being a singer and joins in on a big time competition. The movie is pretty by the numbers and it can feel a bit hollow at times. What helps is the stylish execution with a unique artistic eye from its director as well as solid performances all around. I do wish there was a bit more substance but what stands is still an entertaining example of the formula and why its explored so much.
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We see an actual Elle Fanning perform an actual song and that's about as real as it gets.
hnapel7 July 2019
Warning: Spoilers
For a moment I thought haven't we been here before, seeing Elle Fanning on the cover of a movie poster in a neon light glow and indeed we have, but compared to "The Neon Demon", while there are some parallels, this movie is more about actual accomplishments than the totally superficial world of modeling. For wannabe singers a talent show, especially when broadcast on a continental scale can be a tremendous leg-up, however it is also a great watershed for the mediocre so be careful what you wish for when signing up. The story is set in the UK for a change which accounts for the somewhat subdued hysteria surrounding the events that will lead to the instant stardom of our Violet. From the Isle of Wight where she tends to a horse until it gets sold for reasons of poverty we follow her to the stages of London with her coach and mentor Vlad who has an uncanny resemblance to Albert Einstein however knows nothing of relativity theory but all about being a destituted opera singer and alcoholic. While the single mom vouches for her child behind the telly Violet parties a little too much but a total drama can be averted in a funny scene where Vlad provides the opposite force to the gravity that kept Violet to the ground. The real cliffhanger are the end-titles where I learned, although vaguely suspected that Elle Fanning performed her own songs for the score. In those moments, just like the performance of the horse that didn't know it was in a movie, we see an actual Elle Fanning perform an actual song and that's about as real as it gets. If you don't have time to watch it, at least consider the soundtrack, there's some sweat in there.
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Great Directing Saves a Mediocre Script
jhunte21 April 2019
Max Minghella's directorial debut shows great promise for his future as a director. However his future as a screenwriter not so much. The script is mediocre and predictable with stock characters, though it is still enjoyable and funny at moments. What saves this movies is Minghella's ability in the director's chair. This movie is shot beautifully and edited very well. The visuals are bright and stunning and the montage style editing works great for the movie. Elle Fanning's singing is also another plus for this movie giving an energetic and stellar performance for the final number in the movie.

It's an ok movie with a good performance by the lead, but it's Minghella's directing that stands out above all else.
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Elle Fanning's strong performance carries the movie
paul-allaer9 May 2019
"Teen Spirit" (2018 release from the UK; 92 min.) brings the story of violet. As the movie opens, we are told it is "The Isle of Wright, UK". Violet is singing in a pub on open mic night. Exactly one person pays attention, Vlad, who we later learned once was a note at opera singer in Croatia. Violets close knit family (originally from Poland) Wants her to focus on her church choir singing. But when the TV singing talent show Teen Spirit UK comes to town for open auditions, violet grabs her chance. With the help and mentoring from the flat, Violet enters the talent show. At this point we are 10 minutes into the movie, but to tell you more of the plot would spoil your viewing experience, you will just have to see for yourself how it all plays out.

Couple of comments: this film is the writing and directing debut of Max Minghella, best known for his acting roles. Here he brings an all too familiar story, the likes of which we have seen many times before. In essence this is "A Star Is Born", UK teen version. With such utter predictability, you had better have a strong lead performance and enjoyable music. Thankfully the movie deliverance both: veteran actress Ellen Fanning, still on 21, frankly surprises with her confident singing. Anything short of that would have sunk the movie. The music is equally up to the task. Among the highlights are Fanning's performances of "I Was a Fool" (Tegan & Sara), Ellie Goulding's "Lights", Annie Lenox's "Little Bird" and, to top things of, a brand new song written by Carly Rae Jesper, "Wildflowers", playing at the grand finale of the Teen Sprit competition. Also keep your eyes open for Rebecca Hall's small and campy (but delicious) role as Jules, the "brains" behind the singing competition.

"Teen Spirit" premiered at last year's Toronto international film Festival, and it finally received a limited US theatrical release recently. The Saturday early evening screening where I saw this at turned out to be a private screening, as in: I literally was the only person in the theater. A darn shame. If you are in the mood for an entertaining and slick movie about a singing competition that features a strong lead performance from Elle Fanning, I would readily recommend you check this out, be at in the theater (doubtful at this point), on VOD, or eventually on DVD/Blu-ray, and draw your own conclusion.
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