Edge of Seventeen (REVIEW)
Written by Jacob Chimilar
Coming of age tales are common place in teen cinema. The awkward years need to be justified that when you get to the other side things will be ok. The Edge of Seventeen explores Nadine's journey to navigate high school, friends, family and learning that sometimes it requires a look in the mirror to see where your problems truly lie.
The film starts off fun and sweet with a energetic score and slightly drunk shenanigans but slowly grows more serious as the stakes get higher and Nadine's world slowly crumbles around her. Hailee Steinfeld gives an excellent performance as Nadine as does the rest of the case but most of all Woody Harrelson as her go to teacher Mr.Burner in probably the strongest connection for me. Teachers provide a valuable resource for students, especially for marginalized kids who just need someone to talk to. Granted Burner is not the best mentor but he tells her what she needs to hear and given their relationship it feels like genuine if a tad reluctant, friendship.
The writing is strong with funny and honest moments throughout. The characterizations of the various classmates are spot on and make the otherwise standard material shine a bit more. It does drag towards the hour mark just from the shifting from something fun to something more serious but I adjusted and things improved. By the end I was almost in tears from the emotional catharsis Nadine goes through.
Its a sweet film with a good message, some heart and interesting themes sprinkled with just enough humour and snark to keep it from getting melodramatic. It's worth watching if you are a fan of these kinds of movies because it doesn't take the safe route it feels real and that's what elevates it above just another run of the mill angsty teen movie. The relationships feel real. The situations while a bit heightened are more typical of how I remember school and the performances bring it all home for an entertaining time.