written and directed by Max Minghella
by Bill Chambers Pity about Teen Spirit, since it opens so well. Elle Fanning scrolls through her MP3 player to find the perfect song to start things off. A beat drops, and then we get the usual assortment of corporate logos. There's another great moment early on, where Fanning, having turned down a ride home from a slurring stranger who comes on like a dirty old man, is waiting at a bus stop late at night when she spies a group of young hooligans heading in her direction. The camera swipes across Fanning from one potential threat to the other: a clever visual that shows she's between a rock and a hard place. She chooses the dirty old man, Vlad (Zlatko Buric). He's a bear, but at least she wouldn't be outnumbered. Director Max Minghella clearly inherited some filmmaking chops from his old man, the late Anthony Minghella, though he asserts his individuality by shooting in anamorphic widescreen (something Anthony eschewed despite specializing in epics), and his overall style is relatively spastic; I waited in vain for Minghella to resist a gratuitous edit or camera movement. Fanning, by the way, plays a teenage chanteuse named Violet, forced to hide her passion from her mother (Agnieszka Grochowska), a proud, stern Polish immigrant who just wants her daughter to wait tables with her and stop these pop-star pipe dreams. It's a cold, cruel world out there where men abandon their families, after all, so you need a job you can depend on.