A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Tini: The New Life of Violetta is a 2016 musical adventure featuring Martina Stoessel, a kind of Argentinean Miley Cyrus, whose television adventures made her a teenage TV star. Although love is a theme, sex isn't. A bit of clothed kissing is shown at the end. Romantic fidelity is touted. The movie is dubbed from Spanish into English. Italian speech appears in English subtitles.
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What's the story?
TINI: THE NEW LIFE OF VIOLETTA follows Argentine pop star Violetta (Martina Stoessel) at the edge of adulthood. Unable to reach her pop star boyfriend, Leon (Jorge Blanco), who is shooting a music video in Los Angeles, she believes TV gossip claiming he is dating another girl. Unable to write music inspired by her true love for a promised new album, she announces her retirement from music and slithers off to lick her wounds. She still can't reach Leon, who apparently neither answers his cell phone nor looks at Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, and the television. Violetta's father sends her to a supportive friend, Isabella (Angela Molina), who runs an artist retreat on a beautiful Italian island. There Violetta meets a handsome young dancer-slash-boat captain. She seems smitten and cozy with him until he tries to kiss her, prompting her to declare she still loves the missing Leon. But Leon has traveled to Italy and arrived -- on a white horse (!) -- just in time to witness the kiss but, of course, not the rebuff. Inexplicably he heads out to a remote island, which is convenient when Violetta smashes her sailboat and goes into the water. Leon saves her from drowning and gets her back to the village in time to perform her new love song.
Is it any good?
This movie is dreadful. Dubbing into English is inept -- lips flap while no words are uttered and words pour out from still mouths. This is a vehicle designed by Disney Channel Latin America to keep making money on its a popular South American TV series by transitioning the tween child star character to an adult hit-maker for the vast Disney empire. Martina Stoessel is pop star Violetta Castillo/Tini. She is pert and smiley and sings nicely but the plot is breathtakingly stupid, revolving around Violetta's inability to reach her boyfriend, in this era of Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, texting, voicemail, and email overconnectedness. Nope, they just can't reach each other. Oh, but Violetta has no trouble hearing and believing TV gossip speculating that Leon is already dating someone else. And that, plus a little pressure to meet some professional deadlines, is enough to suck Violetta into the vortex of crisis, resulting in her impulsive declaration that she is retiring from show biz. After announcing she's through with music, why would she be interested in heading to an island retreat for young artists? Nothing in Tini: The New Life of Violetta makes sense. Violetta tells all who ask that she is in Italy "to find herself." Of all the problems a wealthy and famous young girl might have, this is certainly a good one.
Equally mystifying, she leads on a handsome young boat captain but when he tries to kiss her she turns him down. Script and direction are simply awful, and not for lack of funding. The sets, the boats, the lovely Italian village -- they could not have been cheap. But no one bothered to pay for a script that had a single original idea in it. So, here's the dark secret that Violetta's dad and Isabella finally agree to reveal to her: she has a nickname! Don't tell anyone.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the emphasis on the not-so-terrible problems of a successful singing star who needs to "get away" because she hasn't heard from her boyfriend by either cell phone or text. Does Tini: The New Life of Violetta's premise seem believable in this age of constant social media and phone connection?
How does this compare to the many movies about the questionable difficulties of teen pop stars whose lives seem more than perfect?
What do you think of the music here? Does it enhance the story?
Why is Violetta so obsessed with her relationship? Do you think that's healthy?
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