FilmReview

Review: ‘The Edge of Seventeen’ Is On the Edge of Perfection

Julia Funk ’19 / Emertainment Monthly Staff Writer

High school. Whether you were the one partying at a friend of a friend’s mansion whose parents always happened to be out of town probably fulfilling duties with their second families or if you preferred to stay home and watch Gilmore Girls while eating an entire jar of Nutella on a Saturday night, The Edge of Seventeen is a film for anyone who happened to make it out of high school alive.

This film hits all of the right chords as a “coming-of-age high school comedy.” Few films have achieved the tall order of attempting to emulate the distressing problems that real high schoolers face, but Kelly Fremon Craig’s script and direction make this specific teenager’s woes believable.

Nadine Byrd’s (Hailee Steinfeld) life has been terrible for a while, but when she finds out her best—and only—friend, Krista (Haley Lu Richardson), is hooking up with her brother, Darian (Blake Jenner), she is pushed over the edge—of seventeen—as the title so perfectly phrases it.

Hailee Steinfeld and Woody Harrelson in The Edge of Seventeen. Photo Credit: STX Entertainment.
Hailee Steinfeld and Woody Harrelson in The Edge of Seventeen. Photo Credit: STX Entertainment.

The one-liners in this film are fantastic. Woody Harrelson perfectly executed his role as Mr. Bruner, the dry, sarcastic teacher and mentor who helps put Nadine’s life into perspective. His calm attitude counterbalances her seemingly catastrophic problems making him the perfect person for Nadine to come to when she needs help. Their relationship is definitely unique. Not many teachers would respond the way he did if a student told them they were planning on killing themselves. Also, his reaction is uncharacteristically subdued when Nadine showed him an accidental text sent to her crush involving the phrase, “I want you to put your mouth on my tits.”

Mr. Bruner’s actual life ends up not to be what Nadine harshly accused him of being, which is essentially a sad, divorced, bald man. Though two of those things may be true, the twist ensures the film’s overarching idea. Maybe Nadine doesn’t have everyone all figured out after all.

Hailee Steinfeld and Haley Lu Richardson in The Edge of Seventeen. Photo Credit: STX Entertainment.
Hailee Steinfeld and Haley Lu Richardson in The Edge of Seventeen. Photo Credit: STX Entertainment.

Nadine’s irritation with the relationship of her brother and her best friend was the movie’s main conflict, but it took the back seat to other problems she faced. Many of Nadine’s problems could have been viewed as predictable, but, through fresh and witty dialogue, Nadine’s problems seem unique, but relatable, such as the arguments between her and her mom (Kyra Sedgwick).

The actors playing Nadine’s brother and best friend could have been replaced with brick walls. Their characters didn’t have much depth, but perhaps this was intentional to make Nadine seem different and in the end overdramatic.

The object of her affection also happened to be a brick wall and an overall terrible person. Nick (Alexander Calvert) is like most classic high school crushes: perfect in theory, but will never work out in the end.

Hayden Szeto in The Edge of Seventeen. Photo Credit: STX Entertainment.
Hayden Szeto in The Edge of Seventeen. Photo Credit: STX Entertainment.

The only supporting character that is remotely similar to Nadine is Erwin (Hayden Szeto). Sweet Erwin. Every word that comes from his mouth is adorable. He perfectly executed his role as the lovable nerd and, because it is Hollywood, he also fits the “attractive criteria” as well. The animated short Erwin made is Oscar-worthy in itself. It is a classic—maybe even too predictable—case of the high school girl obsessed with an attractive jerk when she should be giving more attention to the sweet film nerd who is obsessed her. Lesson learned from this movie: don’t give up on love, millennials!

Overall, this movie leaves you with a bubbly feeling that maybe everything will turn out okay in the end. Maybe it will even make you rethink whether your social squabbles are even worth making a huge fuss about. If you have ever googled, “movies similar to Easy A,” then go see The Edge of Seventeen. The witty dialogue and relatable issues make it easily one of the best “coming-of-age high school comedy” to date.

Overall Grade: A-

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