‘Teen Spirit’ Trailer: Elle Fanning Becomes a Pop Star

Teen Spirit trailer

Our culture loves rags-to-riches stories about normal people who perform under extraordinary circumstances and become superstars – we’ve seen it in everything from Rocky to A Star is Born. It’s a time-honored premise, so it’s no surprise that another film has come along to put its own spin on that idea.

Teen Spirit is the directorial debut of actor Max Minghella, who has appeared in shows like The Handmaid’s Tale and movies like The Social Network. Elle Fanning (Super 8, I Think We’re Alone Now) leads the cast as a teenager who enters an international singing competition to escape her past. Check out the trailer below.

Teen Spirit Trailer

“From the producer of La La Land” seems like an appropriate credit to spotlight in this trailer, since this preview includes imagery that recalls Emma Stone’s show-stopping musical performance during that film’s climax and beautiful cinematography that reminds me of some of the “magic hour” shots Damien Chazelle captured in his movie.

Meanwhile, Elle Fanning has interrogated the notions of competition and fame on film before, most notably in Nicolas Winding Refn’s super-stylized The Neon Demon. Is there anything left for her to say about the subject here?

Teen Spirit played at this year’s Toronto International Film Festival, where Marshall Shaffer reviewed it for us and found it to be slightly above average, dinging Minghella’s “cliche-ridden script” and finding himself unimpressed by the story’s overall familiarity. But he says Fanning’s performance is strong: “The gradual blossoming of Violet into a stage presence that matches her vocal virtuosity is a joy to behold, even if the rest of Teen Spirit struggles to match Fanning’s appeal.”

The movie has earned mixed reviews thus far, currently sitting at 63% on Rotten Tomatoes after its run on the film festival circuit. But it sounds like as long as you don’t go in expecting the tropes of the genre to be subverted, you’ll be rewarded with a familiar tune that hits most of the right notes. And hey, if nothing else, at least that soundtrack seems pretty bangin’, with Fanning belting covers of artists like Robyn, Ellie Goulding, Tegan & Sara, Orbital, Jack Antonoff, Sigrid, Annie Lennox, and Carly Rae Jepson.

Here’s the official synopsis:

Violet, a shy teenager living in a small European town, dreams of pop stardom as an escape from her dismal surroundings and shattered family life. With the help of an unlikely mentor, Violet enters an international singing competition that will test her integrity, talent, and ambition.

Teen Spirit arrives in theaters on April 5, 2019.

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