With all the big events coming up, it’s sometimes not surprising to have some other films sneak beneath the radar. Without advertising, these films go unnoticed, a weird title standing out in a smaller theater, dwarfed by the juggernauts of the cinema world. Today, I ended my review run with a look at one of these movies, hoping to get some fun and surprises in store. Checking out a movie with little knowledge, this is another Robbie K’s movie reviews as we check out:
Teen Spirit (2019)
- The Pace
- The Character Portrayal
- The Journey
- The Chemistry
- The Story Structure
- The Performances, Especially the end one
- The Music
SUMMARY: Coming out of the gate, movies that are a little more than independent often come out a bit slower for my taste, but in this movie the spirit keeps things going. Not too fast, but not too slow, Teen spirit finds a nice balance to cram enough stuff in and keep the entertainment factor going. It works well with keeping things moving and getting to the climactic moments without skipping too much stuff. What helps keep this pace going starts with the character portrayal, a teenage like Cinderella story that shows the hardships and begins to expand up on the complex character that Violet is. The journey to which tests her is familiar, but holds the components necessary to grow and lash on to the relevant character that she is. Elle Fanning’s acting, I thought, was well selected, utilizing her demeanor from several other movies and molding it into a familiar character with a slight twist. The director I believed utilized the modern Cinderella portrayal and integrated it well with actors/actresses who meshed well to again fashion a believable relationship. It’s this chemistry and inclusion of so many characters that I believe grounds some of the extreme moments of the character.
Yet the character/acting is only one part of the mix, and the story structure itself helps to revive the excitement of performing. In a presentation that feels part Black Swan (without the sexual aggressiveness) meeting a teenage singing spectacle, Teen Spirit takes a familiar tale and keeps it focused on its goal of blending the two worlds. Many elements are touched upon Violet’s life and many secondary characters help her explore those different aspects and integrated this into the tale. Being a movie about performing, you are hoping for a little pep in the step right? Well, Spirit has you covered as there are some emotionally rich performances that should speak to a number of members. Emotional ballads, saucy diva songs, and a few covers should help get some toes tapping, while also emphasizing the mind of the lead character. Again, the use of music and performance to add to the struggle and impasses of the film, helps grant some originality to this familiar plot. Finally, the music is the key to my enjoyment in this film. A fantastic selection of songs, Teen spirit has found a nice blend of original songs, fun covers, and use of some energetic tracks that are not only fun, but again fit well to the scenes. I believe this may have been the component to turn me into the movie more, and hope you like it too.
- Mostly predictable
- Touch and Go on some story elements
- More Performances, especially with the other guys
- The Credit scenes
SUMMARY: As much fun as I had with the movie, there were still some things that needed some rehearsal to help get it perfect. First, the tale was predictable, only a few moments hanging in the balance to whether or not they would surprise me. Yet, working with the timing, and seeing the clues, it was not hard to decipher the grand finale. Fortunately, the other aspects of the film were enough to distract from this, but they also open up the door to another limitation. Violet’s life has some rather shocking trials and some openings to further expand her character. The problem is, with all the components they wanted to place in this film it resulted in these problems being touch and go. Secondary arcs and potential for character growth were dropped very quickly, sometimes solved in the blink of an eye and other times left to fade into bare memories. Others are open ended leading to a possible sequel, but I would have loved some extra time into the movie to further explore these components or perhaps drop a few impasses to allow for others to get development. This was especially true for the coach she meets early on in the film, the most engaging relationship of the bunch and the one that had much pushed to the side.
It’s a bit frustrating for me, but again the entertainment factor helps hide it, though again this brings up another limitation. For a movie about competition, Teen Spirit does a poor job of engaging in the rivalry aspect and actually showing that competition. After a semi-flash introduction, and the potential to bring about more acts, this film surprisingly left little in the development of their rivals. Many of these acts are looks alone, a mere placeholder to remind you this is a competition. Sadly, outside of one act and a few montage shots, these groups are forgotten characters that serve little purpose other than stir the drama plot ever so slightly. I would have liked a little more expansion to these moments and some better competition build up to add to the suspense of the moment, despite the cost of character development. It would have added a little more flash, offered some openings for story told through song, the aspect I really liked. Finally, the end credit scenes were a nice tie up to the ambiguous ending, but it also paved the way for some unnecessary shots and the potential for a sequel I don’t think I would fit in this world. Still, only time will tell the relevance of this scene, for alone it is merely extra fluff to offset some of the work this film did.
Teen Spirit has a lot packed in its run time, and the entertainment factor is the key to why this film works as well as it does. Storytelling, acting, and character development are all functional and simplistic enough they making a guiding framework, though their predictability is a little lackluster. No, for me the entertaining relationships, the engaging pace, and the fun of the numbers and music will be the aspect that remains strong in my mind, especially in its use of storytelling and the energy it puts out. It’s true that Teen Spirit is not the original story, but it’s reality based and movie magic will be a combination I feel will hit many. Still, it needs to work on balancing plot and more importantly choosing which components to focus on to help provide sustenance and suspense.
My scores are:
Movie Overall: 7.0