Review: The Edge Of Seventeen Feels Very Genuine
Title: The Edge of Seventeen
Director: Kelly Fremon Craig
Summary: High-school life gets even more unbearable for Nadine when her best friend, Krista, starts dating her older brother.
There is something about ‘coming of age’ movies that have always rang untrue to me. They seemed to feature these versions of high school that don’t seem to exist outside of movies and television which, for me, negates any sort of lesson they were trying to teach me. I went into The Edge of Seventeen with almost no information about the movie. I hadn’t seen a single trailer or even knew who was in the movie at the time. The only thing I knew was that it was another coming of age teen drama and comedy. It turned out that that was the right way to go into this movie because it turned out to be another comedy that showed a lot of the best jokes in the trailer.
The Edge of Seventeen, unlike many other movies in this genre, approaches tough material in a stark and very funny way that feels entire genuine.
I’m a fan of dark comedy and The Edge of Seventeen immediately piqued my interests because it started with Nadine (Hailee Steinfeld) going to her teacher Mr. Bruner (Woody Harrelson) and telling him that she was going to kill herself and that she thought an adult should know. It’s one of those moments that shouldn’t be funny but the way it is delivered it is just perfectly realized. That was the moment that I knew that this was going to be the type of teen movie I could relate to because this felt like something that could happen in the real world. We get a look at Nadine’s life as a child and into being a teenager so that we can get an idea of why this young women acts the way she does. We see how important her friendship is with Krista (Haley Lu Richardson) and how tense her relationship with her brother Darian (Blake Jenner) is so we understand how betrayed she feels when they start to date.
We see Nadine’s life completely spiral out of control as she can’t deal with the fact that her brother and her best friend want to be together. She reacts the way that a very typical teenage would react in that she acts like the world is ending. When we’re teenagers everything in the world feels like a world ending event so Nadine’s reaction to this new relationship is over the top in a way that feels like how a real teenager would react. Nadine talks a million miles a minute because she feels like everything’s falling apart and she needs to talk that fast to make sure she gets her point across before her entire world explodes.
This film is held together by one of the smartest scripts I’ve seen this year by writer/director Kelly Fremon Craig. It takes a very talented director to make the teenage genre feel genuine since it normally feels like adults looking down on the next generation. Craig, however, seems to have some respect for the teen generation and The Edge of Seventeen doesn’t look down on the teens. The cast is also fantastic with each person putting in a very sharp and believable performance from Harrelson’s Mr. Bruner who hates his job more than a little to the surprising amount of depth to Jenner’s Darian.
The Edge of Seventeen is one of the rare coming of age teen movies that actually feels like a movie based on real teenagers. While everything might be over the top it’s done in a way that feels genuine for the demographic while not looking down on them like most adults do.