Sounds Like Teen Spirit (U)

Film image

The ViewLondon Review

Review byMatthew Turner07/05/2009

Five out of Five stars
Running time: 93 mins

Hugely enjoyable, utterly charming and frequently hilarious, this is a welcome addition to the heartwarming competition-based documentary genre and easily one of the best films of the year.

What's it all about?
Directed by Jamie J Johnson, Sounds Like Teen Spirit is a British documentary that follows the entrants from four different countries as they prepare for the 2007 Junior Eurovision Song Contest. The performers include: Bulgaria's Marina (14), who's become very cynical about love since her father walked out on her mother; Cyprus' Giogos (10), whose passion for music and dance has led to him being bullied at school; Georgia's Mariam (13), who hopes her singing will lead to a better life for her family; and four Belgian teenagers (Mirek, Laurens, Matthieu and Eva – all 15) from the band Trust, whose musical ambitions for Eurovision are exceeded by their desires to chase girls or find a cute boy.

The Good
The film opens with another talented Belgian teenager, Bab, whose defeat by Trust in the Belgian finals causes a devastating early upset while subtly cluing you in to the fact that the film isn't necessarily going to be about winning or losing. Thereafter, the film largely follows the Spellbound format (the sine qua non of heartwarming competition-based documentaries), with the addition of onscreen captions and Johnson occasionally narrating or asking questions off camera.

Johnson clearly has a knack for making his subjects feel at ease and there's never any sense of playing up for the cameras. As such, he captures some genuinely moving moments, such as Giorgos's sister Eliana's relationship with her brother, Marina speaking about her parents' divorce or various Georgians expressing their support for Mariam.

The Great
Aside from the utterly charming participants, the film is also extremely funny throughout. In addition, it uses a brilliant soundtrack to superb effect, most notably during the lengthy point-scoring sequence, set to Abba's The Winner Takes It All.

Worth seeing?
Sounds Like Teen Spirit is a hugely entertaining documentary that's easily one of the best British films of the year. You'll laugh, you'll cry, you'll make a mental note to watch Junior Eurovision 2009. Highly recommended.

Film Trailer

Sounds Like Teen Spirit (U)
Be the first to review Sounds Like Teen Spirit...
01 Focus (15)

Will Smith, Margot Robbie, Rodrigo Santoro

02 Selma (12A)

David Oyelowo, Carmen Ejogo, Tim Roth

03 Far from the Madding Crowd (tbc)

Carey Mulligan, Tom Sturridge, Matthias Schoenaert...

04 Chappie (tbc)

Hugh Jackman, Sigourney Weaver, Sharlto Copley

05 A Most Violent Year (15)

Oscar Isaac, Jessica Chastain, David Oyelowo

Content updated: 22/07/2018 17:22

Latest Film Reviews

Film of the Week

Foxcatcher (15)

Steve Carrell and Channing Tatum star in this real life inspired story of Olympic talent, fierce competition and murder.

UK Box Office Top 5 Films