Film Review – The Edge of Seventeen (2016)
The critically acclaimed The Edge of Seventeen has finally started to be released in more theaters which had me running out to the theaters to finally see it. The following review will be spoiler free. Make sure to comment at the bottom of the page with your thoughts to keep the conversation going!
The Edge of Seventeen is directed by Kelly Fremon Craig and stars Hailee Steinfeld and Woody Harrelson.
The movie follows Nadine (Steinfeld), a high school junior who is currently right in the middle of the typical awkward teenage years when her brother begins to date her best friend Krista (Haley Lu Richardson). Nadine begins to feel more alone than ever, which causes her to fall into somewhat of a downward spiral. She begins to then seek the help from adults such as her teacher Mr. Bruner (Harrelson) and finds some hope in places she did not expect.
Hailee Steinfeld has most definitely proven herself as an actress after her performance in True Grit. However, we have yet to really see her shine as the star of a movie quite yet. From early reviews there was already a ton of praise for Steinfeld in The Edge of Seventeen so I was very excited to see her perform. She’s had a lot of supporting roles in movies such as Pitch Perfect 2 and Ender’s Game among others and has been really solid with a notable charm that it was only a matter of time before she breaks through as a coveted actress.
I really love Woody Harrelson in just about every movie he’s in. He’s such a chameleon as he’s played sinister villains and also the goofy comic relief. Whatever role you need played, odds are that Woody can pull it off for you. When I saw that Harrelson would be the offbeat teacher in a coming of age film, I immediately thought it was perfect casting.
I think we’ve also been aching for a coming of age movie that speaks to the current generation of teenagers and younger adults. These types of movies can really have an emotional impact on its audience and can quickly becomes classics if they are really solid films. The last coming of age movie that had somewhat of an impact was Boyhood, but even the praise of that movie was more about its achievement of filming consistently over a twelve year period rather than the arc of the young boy Mason.
What I Liked
After viewing The Edge of Seventeen, I feel confident saying that it is definitely one of the better coming of age stories I have seen in the past few years.
Hailee Steinfeld is a revelation as Nadine in the starring role. Yes she’s an angsty teen which could have easily been cliched and annoying, but Steinfeld is such a fleshed out character (which comes from a great script) that you care deeply for her as she tries to get through her awkward high school years. You completely understand why she is the way she is as the movie expertly sets up her backstory. Not only is her comedic timing pretty impeccable, but she’s works really well in the more dramatic moments as well.
In fact, all the characters are super well written in The Edge of Seventeen. They’re all very believable and say very realistic things that you would expect someone in high school to say, holding no punches along the way. I loved Woody Harrelson as the hilariously despicable teacher that Nadine goes to talk to. Harrelson says some pretty terrible things to Nadine, but he has a charming detached attitude throughout the film that I felt was a very lifelike representation of a teacher mentor. Nadine and Irwin (Hayden Szeto) also have a really nice developed arc together. Their interactions in the film are delightfully awkward and had me smiling the entire time.
What I Didn’t Like
One of the few gripes I had with the movie was that it does go through the predictable story points of a coming to age movie. About halfway through the movie, I knew exactly what was going to happen to the characters. It does follow some of those typical coming of age story tropes that have become a little overdone. However, the characters were so well written that the journey was well worth the ride.
What I Liked…Continued
The Edge of Seventeen is relatable for every moviegoer. I was shocked how much I could understand and empathize with Nadine. Regardless of your gender, you can get something out of this movie and have an enjoyable experience watching it. You feel for Nadine and her struggles and also have a lot of good laughs throughout the film. The Edge of Seventeen is a really nice time at the theaters.
So, The Edge of Seventeen is a superior teen drama movie that is surprisingly likable while still being pretty predictable. For those reasons, it gets an A-. This film has been criminally undervalued by moviegoers so far. I was the sole patron in the theater to watch it. Go see this movie! It most certainly is worth the price of admission.
Thanks so much for reading! Have you seen The Edge of Seventeen? What are your thoughts on the movie?
What should I review next? Whether it’s old or new, the choice is up to you! Thanks for reading!