Teen Spirit Parent Guide
Pulsing to a pounding electronic beat and flashing neon lights, this is an entertaining viewing experience unless you are prone to motion sickness or migraines.
Parent Movie Review
Becoming a famous singer is the dream of many girls, but for unhappy teen Violet (Elle Fanning), it’s the only thing that makes life bearable. Dragging herself through endless farm chores, school work, and a night job serving drinks in a pool hall, Violet cherishes the outdated iPod and beloved pop songs that offer an escape from her colorless existence. Music’s so important to her that she sometimes leaves work early to sing at a local bar—lying about her age to gain admittance.
It’s here that she meets Vlad (Zlatko Buris), a washed-out opera singer whose fall from stardom has left him a scruffy and homeless alcoholic. Seeing the potential in the antisocial teenager, Vlad becomes her most ardent supporter. While initially suspicious of the older man’s offer of friendship, Violet changes her mind when talent scouts from the popular TV show Teen Spirit come to town. This televised singing competition promises fame and fortune to the winners—an opportunity Violet can’t stand to miss. Knowing her anxious mother (Agnieszka Grochowska) will see the show as a waste of time, Violet gets Vlad to pose as her legal guardian. With the paperwork signed, she sings her heart out and does well enough to be invited to the next round.
Saturated with the pounding beats of electronic dance music and lots of neon lights, Teen Spirit is an entertaining viewing experience if you’re not prone to motion sickness or strobe induced seizures. It has likable characters—even the sulky protagonist is sympathetic—and preaches the usual message of perseverance. The devotion of Violet’s mentor Vlad, her small handful of high school friends, and even her initially hesitant mother are touching supplements to an otherwise predictable underdog story.
But this film takes a somewhat gritty approach to popular pre-teen territory and contains content concerns parents should keep in mind. The most obvious is underage drinking and tobacco use; everyone in Violet’s rural community participates in these vices with no intervention from the town’s adults. (Violet’s mother is a smoker herself and Vlad swigs from a flask before driving.) The movie shows numerous house parties with cups of booze in teenage hands, kids lounging around smoking cigarettes, and while Violet herself usually abstains, even she gives in at a particularly boisterous party. This behavior is not without consequence - Violet’s mother feels guilty for the poor example she’s setting, and Violet herself learns the dangers of drunken decision making. But the fact that these actions are portrayed as normal is cause for concern.
While other content concerns are more minor, the film has its fair share of sexual content and language. A woman is seen embracing a man who isn’t her husband, and her extramarital affair is discussed. A drunken teenager engages in passionate kissing and is only stopped through the intervention of concerned friends—this leads to a quick fist fight and some furious name calling. And Violet and her friends give voice to their frustrations with the occasional cuss word. These concerns may outweigh the good in this spirited teen flick.Directed by Max Minghella. Starring Elle Fanning, Agnieszka Grochowska, and Archie Madekwe. Running time: 92 minutes. Theatrical release April 19, 2019. Updated April 20, 2019
Watch the trailer for Teen Spirit
Rating & Content Info
Why is Teen Spirit rated PG-13? Teen Spirit is rated PG-13 by the MPAA for some suggestive content, and for teen drinking and smoking
Violence: A concerned friend punches a young man for kissing an inebriated teenager. The drunken girl is later carried out of the room.
Sexual Content: Drunken men catcall a girl waiting at a bus stop. Teenagers kiss and embrace. Two drunken characters passionately kiss at a party, lounge on a couch together, and touch each other’s legs. A woman is seen kissing a man who is not her husband. Her affair is briefly discussed and leads to the destruction of her marriage. A woman is concerned about an older man’s interest in her underage daughter: the concern is proven to be unfounded.
Profanity: About ten uses of moderate profanities.
Alcohol / Drug Use: Underage and adult characters drink and smoke throughout. A mentor character drinks and drives, kids at a party take shots and later engage in drunken kissing. The use of alcohol leads to poor decision making, fighting and arguments.
Page last updated April 20, 2019
Teen Spirit Parents' Guide
Violet chooses not to consult her mother when she enters the Teen Spirit competition. Do you believe she was justified in deceiving her mother? How does dishonesty affect relationships?
Violet becomes discouraged when she doesn’t see immediate success in the Teen Spirit competition. Have you ever had to overcome challenges to develop your talents? How do you keep from giving up?
Do you like the way the movie ended? Why did the filmmakers choose not to answer all of the audience’s questions? If you were Violet, what choices would you make at the end of the story
Loved this movie? Try these books…
Are you dreaming of the footlights and applause? Want to see if you can win? You might want to read Augustine Covert’s Got Talent?: 58 fresh talent show ideas.
Have you wondered what it’s like behind the scenes of a televised talent show? Simon Cowell dishes the dirt in I Don’t Mean to Be Rude, But…Backstage Gossip from American Idol and the Secrets that Can Make You a Star. You can also check out Richard Rushfield’s American Idol: The Untold Story.
Related home video titles:
One Chance resembles Violet’s experience. This movie is based on the true story of Paul Potts, a shy, bullied young man with a big voice who enters Britain’s Got Talent.
Want a kid-friendly version of this story? Check out Sing, the animated tale of critters who participate in a musical talent show.