The Edge of Seventeen

2016

Comedy  Drama  

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Movie Reviews

Reviewed by oOoBarracuda 9 / 10

The Edge of Seventeen

Kelly Fremon Craig wrote and directed the 2016 coming-of-age story, The Edge of Seventeen. Starring Hailee Steinfeld, Haley Lu Richardson, and Woody Harrelson, The Edge of Seventeen tells the ever so familiar tale of navigating high school and the awkward teenage years just as your world begins to fall apart. Kelly Fremon Craig follows the formula of a coming-of-age story while still managing to tug at the heartstrings of the audience and keep us engaged through the final scene. Brilliantly written with a wonderful cast, The Edge of Seventeen is sure to gain attention this Oscar season.Nadine (Hailee Steinfeld) has always been, a little different. There was a time in her life in which she felt like such an outcast, she refused to get out of the car and enter school. Everything changed when she met Krista (Haley Lu Richardson) Finally, Nadine had a friend and felt like she belonged with someone. Nadine and Krista were attached at the hip, navigating life's challenges and the unique difficulties of their lives. Nadine has always felt overshadowed by her older brother Darian (Blake Jenner) who seems to never have a challenge with any aspect of his life. Nadine never felt worse about her brother than when he began dating Krista. The union between Krista and Darian was too much for Nadine to bear, and she drew a line in the sand presenting Krista with the ultimatum of choosing between Nadine and her brother. When Krista refused to answer, Nadine abandoned their friendship forging through life and high school and every awkward situation that comes with it friendless and alone, with the exception of her favorite teacher, Mr. Bruner (Woody Harrelson). Kelly Fremon Craig crafted a brilliant script, reminiscent of Diablo Cody, with a perfectly conversational tone and wonderfully engaging pop culture references. The most brilliant aspect of the script was that each character was fully developed. It is so rare, especially in a coming-of-age story to have each character so beautifully fleshed out so the audience can understand the film from each perspective. The Edge of Seventeen, especially, was dependent upon being able to see the perspective of each character, as Nadine was often criticized for being self-centered in her belief that she was the only one experiencing problems in regards to the change in her family. The edge of Seventeen was an incredibly relatable story, which is the driving force of a coming-of-age tale; this inherent relatability is in no small part aided by the wonderful acting of the film's lead. Hailee Steinfeld played a perfect lead and was scene stealing and captivating every moment she was on-screen. Kelly Fremon Craig also makes some brilliant directorial choices to allow the audience to see their own similarities to the tale. The fact that the principles attend Lakewood High School reminds me of a line from A Nightmare on Elm Street, "In every town, there's an Elm Street. My hometown in Colorado has a Lakewood High School, and I'm sure, most towns in the U.S. do, as well. The most striking stroke of relatability is the illustration that we are all struggling through our own unique journey, and there is no one among us to save us. Many teenagers believe that when they are an adult they will have all the answers and won't have to struggle through life so much, only to find out that it is only the circumstances with which one struggles with that changes. There is no rule book for understanding given once one becomes an adult, and there are never any easy answers no matter how old we become, the best we can do is find someone that makes the struggle worth it, and navigate life together. The Edge of Seventeen was a bit formulaic and predictable in parts, but that is easily forgiven, considering it is a coming-of-age film. The script and cast avoid the predictable hole the film avoided. Whether you were a Darian, who on the surface never met a struggle, or whether you were a Nadine, a self-described "old soul" who always felt out of place in your generation and missed out on the "beer pong ice breakers", there is something in The Age of Seventeen for everyone.

Reviewed by Guy Jeffries 9 / 10

Honest, brave, refreshing and highly enjoyable.

An incredible, impressive directorial debut from Kelly Fremon Craig who also wrote this bittersweet teen-something movie about a socially challenged, awkward high school girl who periodically freaks out in glorious fashion triggered by friendships, or lack of, sibling rivalry, and romance; but not in the conventional way, more like how it happens in real life. Hailee Steinfeld is simply amazing as Nadine suffering from low self esteem, running through her daily routine sometimes hysterically, when thing so tragically don't go how they're expected. She emits that feeling of being unheard, inadequate and mostly misunderstood. She's constantly fighting a losing battle, mostly against herself. Blake Jenner plays her perfect brother who's supposedly self obsessed, the popular high school hunk and the obvious favourite of their flamboyant mother who's played by Kyra Sedgwick. Her childhood best friend, well, only friend Krista (Haley Lu Richardson) is partly her anchor, a refuge that understands her, but friends have their falling outs, and this sisterhood falls in epic proportions. One other person who gets her is her teacher, Mr. Bruner, who she both despises and pesters in lunchtimes of ranting frenzies. Woody Harrelson is brilliant as the sarcastic, apparent- imprudent figurehead. Oh, and let's not forget her admirer, Erwin, perfectly played by Hayden Szeto sharing his own awkwardness that makes way for some great comical scenes. There's no Stevie Nicks track though, but that doesn't meant the soundtrack isn't good, because it is but isn't actually dominant like it can be in these kind of movies. It's more like background music as oppose to the soundtrack however there's amazing tracks from The Cinematic Orchestra', Amiee Mann, The 1975's, Phantogram, Birdy, Cloves, Santigold and Two Door Cinema Club; with Atli Örvarsson providing a good piano score. This certainly puts both Craig and Steinfeld on the map, being superbly paced, flowing gracefully, making a perfect snapshot of Nadine's teenage life. Going through the mixed emotions of hate, disgust, fear, laughter and love. Craig really proves her love for the movies, knowing the craft exceptionally well, with her camera work and movie references. It's an honest, brave and daring observation of how troublesome teenage life in western world can be and a great reminder that we're all just trying to get somewhere some of us don't even know until we get there.Running Time: 9 The Cast: 9 Performance: 9 Direction: 9 Story: 9 Script: 9 Creativity: 9 Soundtrack: 9 Job Description: 10 The Extra Bonus Points: 10 for a perfect debut, a refreshing and highly enjoyable story. Would I buy the Bluray?: Yes92% 9/10

Reviewed by cultfilmfan 9 / 10

The Edge of Seventeen

The Edge of Seventeen, I am pleased to say is a little film that came out of nowhere and not only did it far exceed all my expectations, but it turns out as of now to be one of my favourite films of 2016, if not my favourite film of the year and yes, it is that good. Within the first little while of the film I really was not expecting much as this seemed like another version of 2007's Juno, where you have a highly educated and yet very socially awkward teenager who has a very large vocabulary and speaks probably different than the grammar and language skills that most teenagers at that age possess. Unless of course you happen to be Ellen Page in the film Juno, which for the first while of the film I felt this could be a more adult oriented brother, or sister film to, which I was really hoping it was not. Nothing wrong with the film Juno per se, but I have already seen that before and was hoping not for an exact carbon copy of it. Thankfully as I gave the film time, it really ended up surprising me and I would say it is just as good as Juno, or as my initial reaction was that this film may even surpass that. This is a film that conveys beautifully and by beautifully I mean it is so true and honest about what an awkward and sometimes absolutely loathsome time both high school and one's teenage years could be. The film shows our main character Nadine, who is here played by Hailee Steinfeld, who I have not seen in anything since the Coen Brothers' 2010 remake of True Grit, but here she delivers what I think is so far my favourite female performance of 2016 in a role that is not just a cookie cutter outline of what we think teenagers in movies are supposed to act and behave like, but this film and Steinfeld's performance goes much deeper than that. The film truly shows that as teenagers we have a lot of growing that we do and not just in size and shape with our bodies. One's adolescent years often accompany many different changes in our lives from things going on in our own families, to things with friends inside and out of school and I am sure that some teenagers have home lives that are even more volatile and dysfunctional than anything that we can dream up for a movie and even getting out of bed for them in the morning to face a new day can be that challenging. Nadine, has had several setbacks, or difficult situations that have all occurred within a very short period of time. Most of these as with most changes in life, have nothing to do with any fault, or blame on her behalf, but still dealing with these things proves to be more than difficult for her. Because of this, Nadine chooses to lash out at the world and has in general a very negative and pessimistic outlook on life. We see her make so many bad and regretful decisions simply because she is unhappy and looking for any and everything to fill that emptiness and void in her life which she thinks she can fill by being rebellious and her own boss, but it will ultimately lead her to more trouble until what she needs is a good wake up call and some decent people who actually care for her, to step in and show her that people do actually care about her and that she has more than enough potential and so many wonderful qualities about her, if she would only let people see them. Steinfeld's performance can be extremely humorous at times because of Nadine's neurotic whims and quirks, but we also see her pain and suffering and her anger at the world which is portrayed here with so much emotion and depth that it is as I said this year's best female performance so far and hopefully one that is not ignored come awards time. Equally good here in a much different role is Woody Harrelson, as a teacher who becomes a pal and almost one to confide in for Nadine, who is more empathetic and caring to her needs than what he lets on. It is a humorous performance, but one played so well that at times it also shows a beautiful side to it of caring and just being the kind of great teacher that we all so badly deserve in high school. The Edge of Seventeen has wonderful teenage characters and it's depiction of not only them, but also of the parents and adults in this film is so spot on and accurate that it has not been this perceptive, or good probably since Todd Solondz's film Welcome to the Dollhouse, which is another great and accurate film of the pains of high school. This film has wisdom beyond what it shows and is a great showcase for this up and coming director and is a film that teenagers will not only relate to as well as adults and anyone who has even been in high school for a little while. One of the most intelligent and astute films in awhile and also so far this year's best.

Reviewed by Paul Allaer 9 / 10

Watch it for Hailee Steinfeld's performance

"The Edge of Seventeen" (2016 release; 104 min.) brings the story of Nadine, a 17 yr. old junior at Lakewood HS. As the movie opens, Nadine is racing the school's hallways to meet with her favorite teacher and tell him "I'm going to kill myself!" The movie then goes back in time to see how we get to this point. After a short look at "Nadine, Age 7" and "Nadine, age 13", where we learn how socially awkward things are for Nadine, but for her strong friendship with her BFF Krista. That brings us to "Nadine, 17". At this point we're less than 15 min. into the movie, but to tell you more of the plot would spoil your viewing experience, you'll just have to see for yourself how it all plays out.Couple of comments: this movie is the directing debut for writer Kelly Fremon Craig (who wrote 2009's "Post Grad"). Here, Craig takes another shot at bringing the social awkwardness of being in high school and trying to survive all of the pressures that come with it. When was the last time that I've seen such an awkward teenager, who blurts out "I'm seeing myself and I can't stand it. I gotta spend the rest of my life with myself!". So nothing original here as such, except of course that Nadine is played by none other than Hailee Steinfeld, yes the little girl who was nominated of an Oscar in 2010 for "True Grit" is now grown up into a wonderful young lady which bunches of acting talent. Steinfeld basically carries the movie on her back, and is in virtually every single scene. There is some terrific support from Kyra Sedwick as Nadine's mom and Woody Harrelson as Nadine's teacher, but believe me when I say this is all about Hailee Steinfeld. Last but not least, the movie has a TON of great songs in it (check out the soundtrack)."The Edge of Seventeen" opened nationally this past weekend. The Sunday early evening screening where I saw this at was attended okay but not great (about 10 people in the entire theater). This movie has not gotten a big marketing push, and it remains to be seen whether it will benefit from strong word-of-mouth. I quite enjoyed it for what it was, a strong vehicle for leading actress Hailee Steinfeld, even if the territory she explores here has been done before and doesn't offer all that much new. If you get a chance to check it out, be it in the theater, on VOD, or eventually on DVD/Blu-ray, I'd suggest you do and draw your own conclusion.

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