Movie Diary 4/17/2019

Teen Spirit (Max Minghella, 2018). Stock story all the way (small-town girl, in this case from the Isle of Wight, sets her hopes on a TV talent contest; add absent father, resentful immigrant mother, wise alcoholic mentor), yet the movie has a crafted look and sound. It’s also got Elle Fanning, expending not one iota of effort to charm the audience – this is a sullen teen who is actually a sullen teen. Until she sings – and then the ugly duckling becomes, if not a swan, a very passionate kind of bird. Interesting movie, pitched somewhere between the audience-repelling Vox Lux and the audience-hugging A Star Is Born, and thus not likely to find its own crowd. (full review 4/19)