A low-impact, relatable, and hilarious teen dramedy.
The teen dramedy genre is one that I will never get over. Movies like Juno, Superbad, The Breakfast Club, The Perks of Being a Wallflower, The Spectacular Now, etc. never cease to strike a chord in me. The awkward encounters, the laaaaaaame adults, the first relationship, first kisses, first everythings, the highs and the lows of high school, the raging hormones…
High school is a torrential time for everyone, and these films bring these emotions rushing back. The best of these films often have intimate, quirky stories and spectacularly real scripts that don’t hold back on the humor and the profanity.
The Edge of Seventeen works because it has these two things, and because of its star Hailee Steinfeld. I’ll start with the negatives, though.
Um, what was the casting department thinking?
Outside of Hailee Steinfeld, the entire cast looks like they are entirely too old to be in high school, to the point where its distracting.
When Nadine’s brother first came on the screen, looking like Chris Hemsworth’s stunt double, I was legitimately confused.
Blake Jenner is barely passable in this film, but it gets even worse with the casting of Hayden Szeto.
When he’s onscreen, he looks a good 10 years older than everybody else (perhaps because Steinfeld is 19 and he is 31?). He was hilarious in the film, but his casting as a nerdy boy-next-door was entirely unbelievable.
Most of the cast look like they do not belong in high school, at it is distracting enough to where it lessens the film.
Hailee Steinfeld’s compassionate, relatable, and outright hilarious performance is the best part of this film.
Hailee Steinfeld has been a favorite of mine since the release of True Grit, where she more than held her own onscreen next to Jeff Bridges (who won the Oscar for Best Actor for his performance).
In The Edge of Seventeen, she plays an awkward, depressed, and eccentric high school junior named Nadine who is dealing with drama in every aspect of her life, from the death of her father, to the fact that her best friend and brother hook up, her crazy mother, and her luck with boys.
She navigates through the minefield of high school the best way she knows how – her biting sarcasm and hilariously pessimistic views.
She anchors every scene that she is in with poise, and her timing, both comedic and dramatic, is perfect. Her performance is so well-rounded that I would recommend seeing this film just for her. Hers is one of the most relatable and heart-wrenching performances I have ever seen in a film like this.
The script doesn’t hold back.
Yes, high schoolers talk about sex. They swear. They drink. They do dumb things. And the script/narrative of the film doesn’t hold back on the realism. A few scenes, including one where a boy tries to force Nadine to have sex with him in his car, are extremely hard to watch and therefore hit home even more. The story resonates with us, because many of us have been there, especially teenage girls. Where Logan Lerman became a modern poster boy for depressed, hormonal teenage boys in The Perks of Being a Wallflower, Nadine may do the same for teenage girls. Its refreshing to see such a real character on the screen.
(Wait to) See it.
The film will make you laugh, make you think, and make you cry. With the release of so many other movies, though, and the holiday season right around the corner, I would recommend waiting for Netflix, Redbox, or VOD. If you get a chance, be sure to check it out! It will be time well spent.