Review: The Edge of Seventeen

The Edge of Seventeen is a 2016 comedy/drama written and directed by Kelly Fremon Craig in her directorial debut. This film stars Hailee Steinfeld, Haley Lu Richardson, Blake Jenner, and Kyra Sedgwick in a story about life, love, and friendship. After their father dies when they are kids, Nadine and Darian now live with their widowed mother who feels very pressured by the requirements of being a single parent. Nadine is struggling to become her own person, and the only one aside from her father who has been there for her and understood her has been her friend Krista. However, when Krista and Darian fall for each other out of the blue, Nadine now feels betrayed and alone, and as if the entire world is against her. With the story at it’s core, authenticity just drips from the movie screen, and the cast did a great job of carrying Craig’s unique and charmingly bittersweet film.

If there’s one thing that this movie is, it’s unpredictable. Every time I thought I knew where the story was going, it would head in a completely different direction, and I was happily surprised each time. And this movie is far from being simple- the many layers, subplots and themes kept the film moving forward for the entirety of it’s run time and never made me want to check the time to see how far along in the story we had gotten. At times, this movie was almost hard to watch as it was very emotionally tense for Nadine, and since she was the protagonist, we as the audience hates everybody she hates- which is almost everybody around her. Not that this was an unpleasant film, but it is definitely meant to make the viewer uncomfortable, and sad, at key moments. But it’s not all hum-drum! This movie is hilarious as well, mostly thanks to some of the comfortable awkward moments that Nadine suffers through, and Woody Harrelson’s Mr. Bruner was one of my favorite parts in the whole movie. The only character who can rival Nadine’s snark/snide/smart-ass attitude is somebody who is just as sarcastic, and he often puts her in her place by showing her what everybody else sees her as.

It was just the brutal, honest, and utter realism that this film brought in the story that completely allows the viewer to get immersed in it; Nadine could be absolutely anybode, and Kelly Fremon Craig perfectly capture the teenage angst that everybody experiences. “The Edge of Seventeen” is a great title for this movie, and reminded me a lot of Boyhood (or most any other Richard Linklater, or John Hughes film) in just how real the coming-of-age element was portrayed.The cast, again, did an impeccable job in portraying their characters. Haillee Steinfeld as Nadine, Blake Jenner as Darian, Hailey Lu Richardson as Krista, Kyra Sedgwick as Mona (the mother), Woody Harrelson as Mr. Bruner, and Harden Szeto as Erwin (a very awkward guy who has a crush on Nadine) felt so honest and real, as if this were a documentary instead of a fictional narrative.

There really isn’t much to dislike about this film at all- and there are so many more comedic moments than just the ones in the trailer, which I loved seeing. The story, cast, and themes of the movie were all impressive and Kelly Fremon Craig’s handling of them all deserve applause for sure. For those who complain about not seeing any original films in the theaters, it’s your fault for not going to see the original films when they come to theaters- because they are there all of the time, and here is a great example of it. Overall, this was a beautiful, heartbreaking, and heartwarming film that is more authentic than almost any other i’ve seen this year; the cast and story were both great, and Craig’s writing/directing debut shows great promise for her career, and I can’t wait to see where this film takes her! I’m going to give this movie an 8+/10, and a green recommendation. If you haven’t seen this film, DO IT! You won’t be disappointed:) As always, thanks for reading and I’ll see you soon!

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