“The Edge of Seventeen”: on the Edge of Excellence

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The Edge of Seventeen” is written and directed by Kelly Fremon Craig and stars Hailee Steinfeld, Blake Jenner, Haley Lu Richardson, Kyra Sedgwick, and Woody Harrelson. The movie is about a girl named Nadine who hates most of the people that surround her life, but things get worst for her when she finds out about a certain relationship going on with her best friend, Krista.

This is a movie that I didn’t have all that much interest in, but I did think that the young cast here is very talented and has a lot of upsides, plus the trailers looked funny enough, so I came in very hopeful and optimistic.

The Good

The performances by nearly the entire cast are fantastic, with Hailee Steinfeld really standing out in the lead role here. Steinfeld is excellent in this movie, as she is both incredibly funny and relatable at the same time, as she brings a new, fresh look at the rebellious teen. Steinfeld also does great work in the more serious moments, as she makes the audience feel the hardships that she faces with ease. This was a spectacular performance from the child star, as this proves that Steinfeld is ready to command the big screen.

Blake Jenner proved to me he could be a charismatic lead earlier this year in “Everybody Wants Some!!” and now he is proving to me that he’s a young actor to look out for, as he is great in this film as Steinfeld’s brother. Jenner plays his role perfectly, besides looking much older than a high schooler, as this performance showed that Jenner can bring emotion as well as his usual charm. Haley Lu Richardson is also great as Steinfeld’s best friend, but Woody Harrelson as a sarcastic, condescending teacher is what stood out to me. Harrelson nails this role and lands on every single joke he has, and the back and forth moments he has with Steinfeld are some of the best scenes in the film.

The humor works very well in this movie, as the jokes are ones that can be relatable to many different people, as well as being vulgar without going over the line too often. Steinfeld and Harrelson’s conversations are the clear high points as far as comedy, but Steinfeld does a great job at bringing comedy to many different facets of this film, and she does it almost single-handedly with excellent timing and delivery.

What works so well for this film is just how real it feels. Nearly every single moment in this movie feels genuine and resembles something that happens to people each and every day. This is thanks, in large part, to Kelly Fremon Craig, as her direction and script allow Steinfeld and company to really play their characters as if they are real life people. Sure, there are some tropes and clichés used on occasion, but the movie develops its main cast to be more than these clichés, and that is where this movie is different than the many films like this one. The characters are more well rounded here, and they all feel real, and it makes almost every scene feel incredibly realistic, which enhances the film experience as a whole.

The Bad

I say all the characters feel real here, but that is with one exception, which is the mother, played by Kyra Sedgwick. Sedgwick’s performance is fine, but her role and the scenes where she plays a key role just feel fake in comparison to how authentic the rest of the film feels. Sedgwick’s character is very important to the film, but I feel there must have been a better way to implement her than giving her hokey, in your face dialogue with moments that feel staged.

Haley Lu Richardson is very good in this film, but her character falls into the background almost entirely by less than halfway through the film. There are reasons for this, but I don’t think it was a great move, as Richardson does nearly nothing of importance for nearly an hour in this film, and I think she could have been implemented more effectively throughout the plot.

Conclusion

“The Edge of Seventeen” is an excellent coming of age film with a great direction, a witty script, and a very nice mix of comedy and drama. Hailee Steinfeld is superb in the lead, and Blake Jenner and Woody Harrelson both shine in their smaller roles. “The Edge of Seventeen” really surprised me, and was an incredibly fun, genuine film to watch.

Badge-8.5

Get tickets and showtimes for “The Edge of Seventeen” here

Are you excited for “The Edge of Seventeen”? Comment below with what you think.


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