Sounds Like Teen Spirit Review

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Aspiring kids from all over the world convene in Rotterdam to compete in the junior version Eurovision song contest.


Jamie J. Johnson's debut takes its cue from 2002’s Spellbound — except he’s substituted the very American Spelling Bee with the very continental Junior Eurovision Song Contest. As with Spellbound, its joys are found not so much in the climactic event, rather in meeting the young contestants. Like ebullient Cypriot Yiorgos, bullied at school for being “gay”.

Or delicate Georgian Mariam, who has an entire struggling country’s hopes pinned on her. Johnson avoids a mocking tone, and his subjects’ glowing enthusiasm is warming. Could have done without his trite voiceover comments about war in Europe, though.

A cast of cute kids and quirky teens make for an unorthodox but endearing documentary.