Written and Directed by: Kelly Fremon Craig
Produced by: James L. Brooks, Richard Sakai, Julie Ansell
Executive Producer: Donald Tang
Music by: Atli Örvarsson
Starring: Hailee Steinfeld, Woody Harrelson, Kyra Sedgwick, Haley Lu Richardson, Blake Jenner and Hayden Szeto.
The Edge of Seventeen is a coming-of-age drama with a few laughs thrown in, because teenage angst is funny when looking back. Not at the time of course. Being 17 is all about wanting to die at the embarrassment of it all: pimples, older siblings who seem to have it so together and bestie-best friends who are supposed to be there forever (but never are because they’re human too).
Even though it feels like you’re the only one who feels anything at 17, you (hopefully) come to realise that others feel too.
Nadine (new comer, Hailee Stinfeld) is a girl who’s always felt different. A loner, living in the shadow of her perfect brother, Darian (Blake Jenner, think, Everybody Wants Some!! (2016)). Until she meets Krista (Haley Lu Richardson), who becomes her bestest buddy.
Life is good. She has her mate and her Dad, the only two people in the whole world who understand her. But when Krista hooks up with her brother, Nadine’s bubble bursts. And she’s left in a world where people are fake and nice and she’s the only one who knows it.
It’s teenage angst baby, where you just love that guy and he doesn’t know you exist and you just know that mum’s mad and favours your brother more than you and you just, want, to, DIE.
And just like that self-obsession, the film revolves around Nadine. Thankfully the film was well cast and that annoying whine didn’t grate too much.
Woody Harrelson cast as Mr. Bruner, the ever-tolerant teacher, diluted the hormone fuelled rants of Nadine.
And there were some laugh-out-loud moments.
In retaliation to Nadine’s mum (Kyra Sedgwick) Nadine yells – ‘I’ll do something just as bad! I’ll post on Facebook that you pluck the hairs around your nipples!’
There’s a raw honesty in the script (written by Kelly Fremon Craig; the second draft 4 years in the making) that is genuinely funny and at other times gives a jolt as the secrets of girl-teenhood are revealed.
First time director, Fremon Craig, has given free rein to the protagonist here which cuts both ways.
The audience is given insight and authenticity that only freedom can give. And I praise this honesty. On the other hand, there’s a little too much girl craziness – a fine line between funny insight and the urge to reach for the mute button.
The soundtrack helped to smooth over the emotion. And the deadpan humour of Woody as the history teacher not only balanced the character of Nadine but was a release of pressure for the audience.
Overall the film was entertaining with a great script giving a different feel to a storyline that’s been done many times before. I kept thinking back to Ghost World (2001) but The Edge of Seventeen is more drama/comedy than art house.
So, relatable and honest, but also a film about teen angst, which I’m happy to admit is time past.
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