Everyone had those embarrassing moments in high school when they texted the wrong person or didn’t know what to say standing in the front of a classroom. In the case of “The Edge of Seventeen,” the newly released drama/comedy from STX Entertainment, the audience can feel the secondhand embarrassment from their theater seats.
Nadine (Hailee Steinfeld) is a junior in high school and someone who has never been good at making friends. She has one best friend named Krista (Haley Lu Richardson), who has been by her side since they were little, that is, until she falls for Nadine’s “perfect” older brother Darian (Blake Jenner).
While the surface-level trailers focused more on comedic hooks to bring in viewers, the underlying messages of the plot that are revealed later on are both relatable and hard-hitting. Steinfeld, who won Critics’ Choice Movie Award for Best Young Performer for 2010’s “True Grit” is capable of playing a character who is both comedic and serious, as Nadine faces challenges that range from an awkward ferris wheel ride to the deeper struggles of a broken family and finding her place.
Nadine’s teacher, Mr. Bruner (Woody Harrelson, who is known for playing Haymitch in the Hunger Games series) becomes her best confidant during the movie. Most of the humor comes from the scenes when they are together because of his own mocking, sardonic humor towards her and her problems.
While the movie was advertised as “Not Yet Rated,” it was surprising to see that it had been settled on as being rated “R” once it was released. With realistic and completely convincing reactions of teenage profanity, the rating really only became apparent when the movie took a darker turn to a very personal conflict of self-worth for Nadine.
Vanity Fair wrote an article stating that “The Edge of Seventeen” is “the best movie in years,” and although that may be a long shot, it is still apparent that many aspects of this movie stand out to viewers because it is so unique and genuine. Vanity Fair calls it a “charming and insightful film about the turbulence of teendom,” which couldn’t be more true when the situations that Nadine finds herself in could very much be taken from the life of any teenager.
There were very few interactive characters in the movie, but overall, it worked well in helping viewers focus on the problems at hand for Nadine, rather than the story being led along with secondary faces. The relationships between some of the characters like Nadine and Krista, were introduced very early on and as for others like Nadine and a boy at school named Erwin (Hayden Szeto) and even Nadine and her mother (Kyra Sedgwick), the audience gets to watch those develop throughout the whole movie.
“The Edge of Seventeen” was rated 95 percent on Rotten Tomatoes and has already been given high acclamation in regards to its breakout stars. There have even been several compliments of this movie holding its own against other legendary teenage drama/comedies like “Clueless” and “Sixteen Candles.”