"Poor Country Girl Dreams of Being a Pop Singer"
What You Need To Know:
TEEN SPIRIT is told in a realistic, slice-of-life manner, but it still has a lot of charms. The performances are very strong, with Elle Fanning shining as the young budding popstar. Elle can really sing! TEEN SPIRIT is a sleeper hit of the Spring. It does have, however, a couple obscenities and some underage drinking in one scene. Also, a slightly older male performer, who won the competition the year before, tries to take advantage of Violet at a party, but Vlad steps in to set things right.
TEEN SPIRIT, the directorial debut of Screenwriter Max Minghella, is an engaging, hopeful modern Cinderella story about a shy, 17-year-old girl living with her single mother on the bucolic Isle of Wight in Britain who has big dreams of being a popstar. TEEN SPIRIT features an excellent performance by Elle Fanning as the girl and has a lot of heart, but there are a couple obscenities and some underage drinking that warrant caution for older children, though everything comes out alright in the end.
Violet is an introverted teenager who hardly interacts with children her age. She was forced to grow up fast and has trouble connecting with her peers. When she was very young, her father left the family and never returned. Since that day, Violet has been forced to help her single mother with the upkeep of their farmhouse.
After school, Violet works at a local bowling alley to help her mom pay the bills. On weekends, she tends to the goat, cooks, cleans, and only gets a break when she hops on her beloved white horse to ride around in the fields. With her mother in desperate need for more money to pay the bills, Violet dresses up and begins singing at a local bar in the evenings. She tells her mother she’s at a friend’s house and keeps her passion for singing a secret.
One night, while she is out singing, she befriends Vlad, an old, haggard, harmless, man who frequents the bar where she sings. He encourages her to keep singing, and drives her home to ensure she makes it back safe. A few days later, Violet learns Teen Spirit, a reality show for teenagers similar to AMERICAN IDOL, is coming to her high school to hold auditions. Violet enters the competition, but the judges inform her she must bring a guardian with her since she’s only 17-years-old. Violet calls up Vlad and asks him to pose as her uncle since her mother doesn’t approve of her singing. Vlad agrees to do it as long as he can be her manager if she makes it big. Violet agrees.
The next day at the competition, Violet learns Vlad was a famous opera singer and actually has a lot of valuable lessons to teach her. Violet makes it to the next day of auditions at the high school, so she must tell her mother about it. Violet introduces Vlad to her mother, and her mother relents. The mother agrees to let Vlad manage her daughter, but he only gets 15 percent of her earnings if she succeeds as a popstar. Violet ends up winning the trip to the finals, but only after she’s informed that the original first place winner cheated.
Violet and Vlad are whisked away to London where she will compete in the huge, televised singing competition with the best of the best, but Violet’s strength and morals are tested in London. Making matters worse, Violet and Vlad have an argument that could destroy both their chances at success.
TEEN SPIRIT is told in a realistic, slice-of-life manner, but it still has a lot of charms. The performances are very strong, with Elle Fanning shining as the young budding popstar (though she could smile a little bit more). Elle can really sing, and the movie’s soundtrack sounds like a good buy for pop music fans. The movie encourages viewers to root for the young singer’s success. When she and her manager finally reconcile at the end while her mother watches at home with the community as her daughter performs, the movie reaches a couple well-deserved emotional high points.
In the movie, both Violet and her mother attend church, while Violet sings in the choir. However, it’s clear that Violet’s passion is pop music, though her other wonders why Violet feels the need to sing for any other reason than to sing for “the Lord.” Despite her misgivings about her daughter’s passion, the mother express care for her daughter’s desires and is proud when she achieves success. Sadly, though, the father who abandoned them never shows up, even when Violet becomes famous for being in the Teen Spirit competition on TV. In the end, Violet recognizes Vlad for being the true mentor and father figure she so rightly deserves.
TEEN SPIRIT is a sleeper hit of the Spring. It does have, however, a couple obscenities and some underage drinking in one scene. Also, a slightly older male performer, who won the competition the year before, tries to take advantage of Violet at a party, but Vlad steps in to set things right.
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