“The Edge of Seventeen” stars Hailee Steinfeld, Woody Harrelson, Kyra Sedgwick, Haley Lu Richardson, and Blake Jenner. Releasing on November 18, 2016, the film is about a teenager who goes through some awkward problems in life when her best friend starts dating her older brother.
The film features the directorial debut of Kelly Fremon Craig. You’re probably wondering how I managed to see this film two weeks before its wide release. Long story short, I got invited to attend a special members-only screening of the film at my nearest cinema, and believe me, I could not say no to that kind of offer. This film, which is described as a comedy in the style of John Hughes, premiered at the 2016 Toronto International Film Festival on September 18, 2016 and received some very solid reviews. I could assume that with the film’s coming-of-age story and cast, it has to be good. Before I begin telling you my reaction to this film, I just want to say thank you to STX Entertainment for showcasing this film early to the cinema’s rewards program members, including myself.
The best way I could describe the film's concept is that life has its good days and bad days, and the choices that you make as a teenager can depend on what kind of days you’re focusing on. How it translates to film, in my opinion, was actually very impressive. In fact, I thought it was one of the better ways to explore the concept of adolescence in film. The performances in this film were astounding from beginning to end, especially Steinfeld as the awkward, yet talkative, Nadine. Not only did she fit the role perfectly, but she made me want to feel bad for her character because she’s steering herself in the wrong direction due to her miserable moments in life. I wanted her to make the right choices in life and not let those moments make the choices for her. That’s how I like those types of characters. The ones that make me want to care for them. Throughout the film, Nadine usually gets help from her history teacher/mentor, played by Woody Harrelson, despite him not being so helpful at times. This has got to be his best performance in his career, in my opinion. He was both hilarious and likable. I would even say he should get an Oscar nomination for his performance, or at least a Golden Globe nomination. Kyra Sedgwick was also very talented as Nadine’s mother. Another reason why I love this film is the mixture between comedy and drama. It can be quite a challenge to make the audience laugh while also making them care for the characters and what they’re going through, and Kelly Fremon Craig did a great job at finding that balance. It’s not too depressing, but it’s not too goofy either. There’s so much charm in this film that made me want to smile, and you know how much I like films that made me smile. The humor in this film comes from the awkward moments and they hit the mark every time. I didn’t realize this film would make me laugh so much, but it surprisingly did. The film is over an hour and a half long, which I thought was a respectable running time for something like this. It is well-paced enough to keep my attention.
Overall, with its amazing performances from the cast, remarkable storytelling, and its impressive use of humor, charm, and teenage drama, “The Edge of Seventeen” is an absolute delight. A delight that showcases life’s problems from a teenage girl’s perspective in the most humorous and awkwardly unique way possible. This is definitely a must-see not only for fans of coming-of-age movies, but for teenagers who are having those problems and for the adults who experienced them when they were teenagers themselves.