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TIFF Review: ‘Teen Spirit’

September 14, 2018Ben MK

A small town teenager finds herself swept up in the UK’s biggest televised singing competition — and having to deal with all the pitfalls of being suddenly thrust into the spotlight — in the directorial debut from actor Max Minghella.

In Teen Spirit, Elle Fanning plays Violet, a 17-year-old from the Isle of Wight, who's grown weary of life in the classroom, her after-school job as a waitress, and helping out on her mother's (Agnieszka Grochowska) farm. Longing for something more, Violet tries out for the reality show Teen Spirit, and is surprised to learn that she's actually made it to the final round of auditions. Enlisting the help of former Opera singer Vlad (Zlatko Buric), Violet embarks on a journey that could potentially lead her to stardom — but is she ready to deal with all the temptations, turmoil and troubles that she will encounter along the way?

Playing very much like an EDM-influenced version of A Star is Born, only without the love story, Teen Spirit is in no uncertain terms a star vehicle for Fanning, who has already proven herself more than capable in movies like The Neon Demon and Mary Shelley. Suffice to say, Fanning is mesmerizing, and even though this story may not be wholly original, the film built around her is just as captivating.

Teen Spirit makes its world premiere at the 2018 Toronto International Film Festival. Its runtime is 1 hr. 32 min.

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