“Teen Spirit”
RELEASE DATE: April 12, 2019
MPAA RATING: PG-13 (for some suggestive content, and for teen drinking and smoking)

Among the many films screened during this year’s Cinequest Festival in San Jose was Teen Spirit. The preview event included the film’s star, Elle Fanning, receiving a Maverick Spirit Award followed by a moderated Q&A session on the stage of the California Theatre.
Although I’m not among the target audience for Teen Spirit, I did find it to be entertaining, and I was impressed not only by Fanning’s acting performance, but by her singing abilities, as well. One may make the case that the film, and its soundtrack, is likely to launch a full-out singing career for Fanning.
The title, Teen Spirit, comes from that of a fictitious United Kingdom singing competition – think American Idol or The Voice — by which Fanning’s character, a rather shy and appropriately named Violet, strives to find herself and break free of sheltered, small town life on the Isle of Wight she has shared beside her single mother, a Polish immigrant (Agnieszka Grochowska)
Teen Spirit marks the feature film directorial debut of actor Max Minghella, son of the late director Anthony Minghella (The English Patient), who finds life in an otherwise flat character study as his inaugural effort behind the lens.
Some may call the film formulaic, and I would not disagree. But Fanning’s performance, and a strong supporting cast including the role of her former Opera star mentor, Vlad (Zlatko Buric), make for Teen Spirit being much more than an adolescent offering.

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