Cast: Hailee Steinfeld, Haley Lu Richardson, Blake Jenner, Kyra Sedgwick, Woody Harrelson, Hayden Szeto
Director: Kelly Fremon Craig
Length and Rating: 1 hr. 44 min | R
Among friends, we call know there is this cardinal rule that we are not to go after our friend’s brothers or sisters. You just don’t. Obviously rule doesn’t always stop people from doing it, but it’s still there. There are countless movies and TV episodes where this happens, and The Edge of Seventeen can be included. When we meet our protagonist Nadine (Hailee Steinfeld) and her best, and only, friend Krista (Haley Lu Richardson) couldn’t be closer. For Nadine, why have any other friends when Krista fully accepts her odd fashion choices and sense of humour. Besides other seventeen-year old girls are mouth-breathers, so why even try to make new friends. But that all changes after one night of drinking that leads to Nadine discovering that her best friend as hooked-up with her arch-nemesis older brother Darian (Blake Jenner).
After Nadine gives Krista an unfair ultimatum, she is on her own. Left to her own devices, she is now forced to interact among the people around her, whom she has spent the past three years of high school looking down upon. This includes her history teacher Mr. Bruner (Woody Harrelson), who we all wished was our history teacher in high school, because duh Woody Harrelson. Her overbearing mother (Kyra Sedgwick) who seems to still be in the transition of being a single parent after her husband, and Nadine’s father, dies of a sudden heart attack. And her classmate Erwin (the completely endearing Hayden Szeto, painfully endearing), who tries to get Nadine to open up enough to let him in.
Let it be known, this is Hailee Steinfeld’s movie. Yes there are other amazing people in it, but Steinfeld had the very difficult task of playing this stubborn, cynical, and emotional teenager (so a teenager) without having the audience completely abandon her. Yes her character makes mistakes, but as an audience you never really give up on Nadine. I think we forget that Steinfeld was first introduced to us as an actress, probably because we now know her through her songs that play on the radio and get stuck in our heads hours after hearing it. But it’s through her interactions with her teacher, mother, and brother that we see that this girl is not as tough as she wants people to believe she is.
This movie has been tossed around has being in the same genre of John Hughes movies of the 80s. And if you need to convince your friends to go see it with you, sure you can draw the comparison. But I think people make those calls because of the fact that this movie, along with John Hughes films, was able to capture what being a teenager is like. These films have teenage characters that are more than the stereotypes that countless other films cast kids to be like. And if that is what it takes for a film to be called “Hughes-like” then sure, I’ll give it that title.
“You’re the first person who has underestimated how much I make, that made me feel good.”
Mr. Bruner (Woody Harrelson)