Everyone knows that growing up is hard, and life is no easier for high school junior Nadine (Steinfeld), who is already at peak awkwardness when her all-star older brother Darian (Jenner) starts dating her best friend Krista (Lu Richardson). All at once, Nadine feels more alone than ever, until the unexpected friendship of a thoughtful boy (Szeto) gives her a glimmer of hope that things just might not be so terrible after all.
The coming of age of an American teenager has never failed to entertain us at the cinema. From Rebel Without a Cause to The Breakfast Club to more recent efforts of Juno, The Perks of Being a Wallflower and Me and Earl and the Dying Girl teen troubles are like, totally relatable to all of us.
And you can add The Edge of Seventeen to that list, with the now Golden Globe nominated Hailee Steinfeld putting in a cracking central performance. Steinfeld burst onto the scene in the Coen brother’s True Grit, but has sidelined her acting career of late for pop success, only to come storming back in this funny and emotional role.
Her abrasive character can be grating at times – I found myself aligning with her sarcastic teacher (played by a hilariously dry Woody Harrelson) - but my actual 17-year-old female cousin loved her and she’s got a lot in common with Hailee’s character. Amazingly this is writer and director Kelly Fremon Craig’s debut feature, and if her authentic script strikes a chord with the target market consider that job done. There are some all-too real awkward courtships – newcomer Hayden Szeto plays Hailee’s love interest and is a comedic revelation – unfortunate sexting and some pretty moving moments.
It does have the odd failing – the ending feels a bit tacked on and happiness seems dictated by whether you’re in a relationship or not – but like any good teen movie it has a great eclectic soundtrack featuring the likes of Billy Joel, Cage the Elephant, Aimee Mann and The 1975.
John Hughes himself would be proud of this funny and moving coming-of-age dramedy. While her character can be grating, Steinfeld does standout work along with a hilarious on-form Harrelson.
Releases: 5th January 2017
Rating: M – Contains Offensive language & sexual references
Duration: 104 minutes
Genre: Comedy, Drama
Starring: Hailee Steinfeld, Haley Lu Richardson, Blake Jenner
Director: Kelly Fremon Craig (Debut Feature Film)
Two scenes where Erwin interacts with Nadine respectively feature the songs "Genghis Khan" by Miike Snow and "Somebody Else" by The 1975. Both songs are about a jealous man wanting to be the only one in a woman's life, reflecting Erwin's feelings for Nadine.
The film's Lakewood High School is actually Guildford Park Secondary in Surrey, British Columbia, Canada.
Hayden Szeto was the first member of the cast to be cast.
The title of this movie 'The Edge of Seventeen' (2016) shares its title with the Stevie Nicks song 'Edge of Seventeen' (1982).