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#TIFF18 Review: Teen Spirit

September 17, 2018

By John Corrado

★★½ (out of 4)

The directorial debut of actor Max Minghella, Teen Spirit follows Violet (Elle Fanning), a 17-year-old in a small town in the Isle of Wight who dreams of becoming a pop star. Despite her mother’s (Agnieszka Grochowska) best wishes, who would rather that her daughter just remain singing in the church choir, Violet enters a singing competition, bringing along Vlad (Zlatko Buric), an alcoholic former opera singer who hears her sing at a local karaoke bar and recognizes her raw talent, as her guardian and manager.

This is a pretty standard and fairly predictable story of a young singer trying to make it big. The film is uneven, and clearly inferior to the similarly music-themed festival favourites A Star is Born and Vox Lux. But Elle Fanning is good in the lead, and Teen Spirit is kinda enjoyable in fits and starts, even if it does feel more like an extended music video at times. The musical numbers, featuring both original songs and recognizable modern pop numbers, are flashy and entertaining enough to watch.

Elle Fanning in Teen Spirit

Public Screenings:

Friday, September 7th – 2:30 PM at Ryerson Theatre

Sunday, September 9th – 7:30 PM at Scotiabank Theatre

Saturday, September 15th – 9:15 PM at Ryerson Theatre

The 2018 Toronto International Film Festival runs from September 6th to 16th.

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