Buckshot by one-third of the critics during last September’s Toronto Film Festival, Max Minghella‘s Teen Spirit will open on 4.5.19 via Bleecker Street and LD Entertainment. It costars stars Elle Fanning, Rebecca Hall and Zlatko Burić.
The Hollywood Reporter‘s Leslie Felperin: “This making-of-a-star drama, set on the Isle of Wight, is old-fashioned and corny, and not in a good way. Flat and a bit pitchy.”
Variety‘s Owen Gleiberman: “Elle Fanning plays a British teen who enters a TV singing competition in a pop film that tries to give us a sugar high but is too cookie-cutter to soar.
“If Teen Spirit, however, wants to be a movie of the moment, the genre of indie fairy tale it belongs to is older to the point of being rather creaky. Scrape away the pop frosting and what’s underneath is basically one of those cookie-cutter Miramax ‘crowd-pleasers’ from the ’90s: a movie that’s formulaic in every detail but that passes off its particular cute brand of British Isles whimsy as a vaguely high-toned signifier of ‘authenticity.'”
Felperin quibble #1: “Fanning, reported to have done all her own singing live and not had it auto-tuned in post, has a good set of pipes, but it’s hard to see her competent but derivative musical stylings breaking out in a crowded marketplace.”
Felperin quibble #2: “When she can, Fanning’s Violet sings both in the church choir and on stage at a seedy club with a live accompanist to an audience of indifferent drunks, the sort of setup that hasn’t been seen in a British venue since the invention of the karaoke machine.
Felperin quibble #3: “Montage after montage soon ensues as Violet climbs up the rankings and makes it to the final. Along the way, she picks up a backing band of other teens from the island, a racially mixed crew that establishes her street cred but seems demographically unlikely to anyone who has ever spent much time on the Isle of Wight.”