Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Movie Review: The Edge of Seventeen (2016)

The Edge of Seventeen (2016) - Written and Directed by Kelly Fremon Craig; Starring Hailee Steinfeld, Haley Lu Richardson, Blake Jenner, Woody Harrelson, Kyra Sedgewick.

By Kenny Howell

A high school girl battles unpopularity, the death of her father, and love in this John Hughes-ian film.

Hailee Steinfeld (Ten Thousand Saints) is Nadine, a girl at the beginning of the film declares to a teacher that she is going to commit suicide. This could be a downer of a beginning, and it definitely isn't making light of the subject, but the banter between Steinfeld and the teacher played by Woody Harrelson (No Country for Old Men) sets the tone, a cynical sense of humor that Nadine uses to get through her everyday life.

She is unpopular, but has one great friend in Krista. She is a virgin, but has her eye on an "edgy" kid that works at the local Petland. To make things worse, her brother Darian, played by Blake Jenner (Everybody Wants Some), is a supreme athlete and one of the most popular guys in school. Also, her and her mom have never got along. Her dad was the buffer between the two, but when her dad passes away, things spin horribly out of control.

The Edge of Seventeen mostly takes place in that spin downward as all of her relationships are strained for various reasons, and the new ones she is trying to make, mostly with boys, don't quite work out. Nadine, like most teenagers, blames everyone else for her problems, and if Steinfeld wasn't playing this lead role, it could have been a bit tiresome seeing this girl blame everyone else for stuff she just needs to learn about herself. But she understands what it is like to be a teenager, maybe since she just was a year ago. Harrelson as her favorite/most hated teacher is a perfect sparring partner for her, maybe exactly what she needs to get her where she needs to be. Without them, this could have fallen into the pack of other teen movies, but with them, and a little bit of honesty about teen life (the movie is R rated), it makes it something to seek out.

Rating: **1/2

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