This is a fairly typical and straight forward type of film. Teen Spirit follows Violet (Elle Fanning), a small town girl that loves to sing. Certain events happen and she begins to battle for a spot on this popular singing competition in the UK. That's the general narrative and it really doesn't have much substance to it.
I say that as events sort of just go by, and there's no real struggle to it. It wants to lean on certain darker elements, but doesn't go anywhere near them and it just plays out. There's nothing dynamic, nothing new and in general the time just goes by. It's not terribly long so the pacing is solid, there just isn't much to what happens. Many of the side events it tries to setup are ignored and the film never went all in at any point.
Some moments were rather odd, and those don't get explained. You see her tap into this internal memory of moments, but that's also never really explained. This isn't really a bad movie, it's a fine watch. It just really goes by without adding anything to make it really stand out.
Elle Fanning was fantastic here, and that really isn't a surprise. She nailed the various moments of sorrow and intense dance with song. She didn't have much to do here, but did deliver every moment she was on the screen. A great performance overall and it put the other side characters that don't have any real purpose to shame.
I found Vlad (Zlatko Buric) to be alright, but again they could have added more context to the characters. The others that were present also didn't have any depth aside from being in the background. The music was solid, it sounded good and they had excellent performances. The mixture of light with well shot scenes did look appealing. It definitely had a style, just no substance to back that and make this into something truly enticing.
Teen Spirit brings the lights, excitement and great music while not really having any substance. It was a fine watch, but nothing special or different. It went how I expected it would with no surprises. It just hit the check boxes in regards to what a singing competition movie would look like. The visuals were impressive and Fanning carries the film entirely. The music selection was solid and the tweaked iterations of the songs largely worked.
I did find the male lead during the big finale type of song to not be a particularly great singer. An element about the voice was off or something, or perhaps in comparison to Fanning it was just weak. I wish there was something more going on, or that it had some sort of core theme. It was really just a girl dreaming of singing, doing so and then succeeding at it. If you want to listen to some tunes during a competition with flashy lights, this brings just that.
Teen Spirit Review at Home with Streamed Viewing Screening Provided by Elevation Pictures