The Edge of Seventeen is a teenage comedy/drama that focus on Nadine (Hailee Steinfeld), a typical teenage girl who believes she has fallen on hard times when her best friend begins to date her cool older brother. Nadine struggles to cope with the teenage drama that ensues and often turns to her teacher played by Woody Harrelson; which is a bizarre and humorous relationship. The movie separates itself from other teenage movies through its portrayal of teenagers and what life is like as a teen. Often movies like this have a very happy go lucky feel or a rose coloured glasses look towards what high school, this movie has a more realistic look at how dramatic teenagers can be.
This movie really took me by surprise with its realistic portrayal of teenage life and what it means to be a teenager, in particular with her family. Hailee Steinfeld gives an amazing performance as a teenager who does not fit in with her generation and often complains about life. To the films credit there is a balance between sympathy for Nadine’s struggles and annoyance towards her constant melodramatic complaining. The movie is a really well made Coming of Age film that consists of some hilarious cringe worthy humour in the similar vain of the Inbetweeners, relating back to the awkward times of high school mix with some brilliant dramatic moments seen in films like The Way Way Back and The Perks of Being a Wallflower.
There is also a strong message aimed at teenagers about the dramas they experience through growing up which was executed perfectly. Throughout the film the audience views Nadine as an awkward teenager who lives in the shadow of her cooler brother and is a disappointment to her mother. One of the final scenes where Nadine confronts her brother is a scene often seen in Coming of Age films but the response from her brother was exceptional. Blake Jenner gave an amazing performance in this scene alone that I was not expecting to go the way that it did, which ultimately changed the way I expected the film to end.
Woody Harrelson gives a strong performance as Nadine’s teacher who has the most bizarre teacher student relationship. The way he has a response to all of her smart arse comments whilst maintaining a straight face is brilliant and elevates the comedy in the film. The Edge of Seventeen would not work as well as it did without the performances from Steinfeld and Harrelson.
The Edge of Seventeen was a wild card that paid off with great humour, strong performances, believable drama and powerful messages. It’s a whole package movie that will appeal to a mass audience making them laugh and keeping them engaged in the story. Hopefully more people will check out this movie.
The Edge of Seventeen scored 85%, a High Distinction