The Edge of Seventeen – a movie review by Roz Tarszisz
Angst and tantrums – the teenage years are a challenge for all involved. This well drawn portrait from writer/director Kelly Fremon Craig is worth a look for its depiction of a girl who has yet to work out her place in the world, or indeed, if she even has one.
High school junior Nadine (Hailee Steinfeld) has had a hard time of it. Young and alone with her beloved father when he died unexpectedly, she feels like an outsider in her own small family. Her mother Mona (Kyra Sedgwick) and popular older brother Darian (Blake Jenner) both suffer from their untimely loss, although Nadine is too full of her own misery to notice.
She’s a bright and socially inept 17 year old who doesn’t like herself much. Krista (Haley Lu Richardson) is her best – and only – friend . The two have been inseparable since they were eight, supporting each other in navigating the jagged rocks of high school.
After Krista gets together with Darian, Nadine is angry and breaks off the friendship – which leaves her more isolated than ever. She spends lunchtime haranguing her long suffering history teacher, Mr Bruner (Woody Harrelson), even as she seeks his advice. Bruner, whose is nuggetty exterior cover hidden depths, doesn’t seem to care about her problems.. Nadine has a massive crush on older Nick (Alexander Calvert) but lacks the skills to attract his attention.
When she leaves her bedroom and bathroom strewn with clothes, her frustrated mother chucks everything from the floor into a garbage bag. Now that scene took me back some.
The hormones are rampant as Nadine is an emotional mess. When she accidentally sends a sexually explicit text to Nick, she is thrilled when he responds and they meet up. Her naivety has left her vulnerable and I thought that dreadful things could well happen but she has just enough commonsense to pull through.
Although she only wants him as a friend, equally socially awkward classmate Erwin (Hayden Szeto) has a massive crush on her and he later proves to have unexpected artistic talent. In a lovely scene at the end, his actions quietly demonstrate that it is easier to fit in that she has ever imagined and that life is full of possibilities.
3.5/5 104mins 2016 Rated M Released January 5
Starring Hailee Steinfeld, Haley Lu Richardson, Kyra Sedgwick, Woody Harrelson
Directed and written by Kelly Fremon Craig