Recently I was going through a time where I felt more angsty and angry at the world than I ever had. So, one of my best friends and I ventured off, KFC popcorn chicken in hand, to the only place that can make me feel better- the cinemas. ‘The Edge of Seventeen’ first peaked my interest when I watched an actor on actor interview on youtube between Sally Field and Hailee Stienfield. After hearing Field’s praise of the drama film I decided to check it out and I was pleasently surprised!
I’ll be the first to admit, I love angsty teen drama series- ‘One Tree Hill’, ‘Beverly Hills 90210’, ‘The OC’, ‘Dawson’s Creek’, I love them all! But I have a certain respect for films and more often than not, teen dramas are the worst thing to translate into film form. However, ‘The Edge of Seventeen’ was certainly something special.
Stenfield was absolutely magical in her portrayal of Nadine! She conveyed all the emotional baggage of a teenager whilst still maintaining a sense of individuality. Nadine is a whole, well rounded character different from the carbon copies of the same angsty teen in similar films. The rest of the cast was just as wonderful, however, as usual i’m forced to question the ages of actors being hired to play teenagers. Blake Jenner is 24 and playing a 17 year old…that’s just too big of an age gap if you ask me and his older appearence did disrupt the film, at least for me. I loved the relationship betweeen Nadine and her father, it was so sweet and really tugged at my heartstrings.
The dialogue was smart (but not in a pretentious teen movie kind of way!), awkward and just downright hilarious! I’m not one to find films of this genre particularly funny, but Steinfeld and Harrelson were a match made in heaven! All the characters had such wonderful chemistry which really brought the film together!
I found the plot could be a little thin at times where it seemed to take a little too much of a stereotypical path and character development was poor, particularly with Nadine’s brother Darian. Sure, the film is told from Nadine’s perspective, so of course Darian would appear to be a horrible guy, but i felt Nadine’s thoughts and reactions were a little too dramatic and unwarranted. Her hatred for Darian wasn’t explored deep enough for me to be able to relate to her outrage when he starts dating her best friend. This was Nadine’s core problem in the film and I just didnt relate to it. However there were many, many moments in the film that perfectly captured feelings that my friends and I have all felt, so the Kelly Fremon Craig should certainly be commended on her ability to craft an accurate depiction of teen life- something that is near impossible on screen!
The Edge of Seventeen was not perfect, and while it had moments that were far too stereotypical for my taste, the film still had more emotion and depth than any teen film i’ve ever seen. I can say that finally my generation has our ‘Pretty in Pink’, ‘Dazed and Confused’ and ‘Fast Times and Ridgemont High’ in ‘The Edge of Seventeen’. This film gave me those feelings I always crave when I walk out of the cinema- sublime happiness and the feeling that I can take on the world. I’ll always remember this film as a representation of my adolescence.
The Edge of Seventeen film: 7/10