Teen Spirit

Director: Max Minghella
Year Released: 2018
Rating: 2.0

Polish pixie Violet (Elle Fanning), who lives with her single (and domineering) mother on the Isle of Wight, enters a singing competition called "Teen Spirit" with the assistance of a Croatian opera singer named Vlad (Zlatko Burić) - she just so happens to meet him in a bar - who acts as her manager.  Fundamentally speaking, it's an offshoot of the A Star Is Born storyline (except Vlad doesn't kick it), but the trouble is Violet is a barely-developed character (she has family issues) and her only function is to look sad and be pretty, with Max's camera tucked in close and angled upward as if she was an object of worship.  The "dramatic events" that pop up - an argument with Mom, losing and then magically winning a semi-final, barking at Vlad for stopping her from getting raped - don't feel serious and are resolved rather quickly; instead of working with pop stars like Robyn to tailor the soundtrack (the movie's #1 priority), maybe Max should have gotten some script help as well.  It's a good thing John Peel isn't around to hear that grating "Teenage Kicks" cover, but then there's Orbital's "Halycon + On + On" over the last few moments and all is fine.  Nineties techno/house is very underappreciated.