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Parents' Guide to

Teen Spirit

By Sandie Angulo Chen, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 13+

Touching but slow drama about aspiring singer has drinking.

Movie PG-13 2019 92 minutes
Teen Spirit Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

Community Reviews

age 13+

Based on 1 parent review

age 13+

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say: (1 ):
Kids say: Not yet rated

This quiet, contemplative indie drama is unevenly paced but features another capable performance by Fanning, who's a surprisingly good singer. Teen Spirit doesn't have the emotional impact of A Star Is Born or the riveting framing story of Vox Lux's pop star. And it's not going to appeal to audiences who prefer their musician films about real-life artists. But it is touchingly effective as something altogether different: a mentor/mentee story and, for once, a friendship between an older man and a younger woman that's paternal instead of creepy. Buric's Vlad inspires empathy, even as he goes on a bender and alludes to -- but never fully explains -- his descent from revered singer to a drunk who's basically living out of his car.

There's a sweet moment when Vlad tells the insecure Violet that she has what it takes to be extraordinary: Her voice, presumably like his, is a gift she must not squander (like he did). There's a less satisfying subplot involving Violet's relationship with her backing band, which consists of three charming classmates, one of whom is clearly interested in her. This isn't a typical teen movie with a swoony central romance. Instead, Violet all but pushes her sweet suitor away by being interested in a former Teen Spirit winner. As a singer, Fanning holds her own covering Ellie Goulding ("Lights"), Annie Lennox ("Little Bird"), and Irene Cara ("Flashdance ... What a Feeling"), and she's believable as a Billie Eilish-meets-Lorde indie-pop darling. The movie itself isn't as memorable as its soundtrack, but it is a decent enough entry in Fanning's filmography.

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