The Edge of Seventeen Movie Review
Oh, to be a teenage girl again. The anxiety. The pressure to be perfect. The hardships. The drama. The Edge of Seventeen captures this perfectly, diving into the mind of an anxious, slightly depressed, sort-of-annoying-but-highly-entertaining teenage girl.
For the record, I’ve never been a teenage girl.
But if I were, I imagine some of the angst displayed through Hailee Steinfeld’s performance and writer/director Kelly Fremon Craig’s sharp screenplay would be at least somewhat accurate, albeit with your typical exaggeration for comedic effect and entertainment value. The Edge of Seventeen is indeed entertaining, a fast-talking, drama-filled spewing of teenage emotion that may not rank among the best teen classics, but still has plenty to offer.
Steinfeld is great, even if you want to punch her character in the face from time to time. Luckily, violence is avoidable because you get to see her repeatedly countered by her level-headed, cynical and utterly sarcastic teacher, played by Woody Harrelson, who may or may not be just playing a version of himself but is a blast in every scene he’s in.
And finally there’s Hayden Szeto, who plays the adorably awkward Erwin Kim, the potential love interest who is so sweet, so down-to-Earth and so lovably bad at being suave that I’d date him in an instant, and I’m a straight male.
The Edge of Seventeen successfully blurs the line between comedy and drama. Craig makes the wise decision to not fluctuate between the two--instead, she uses the more dramatic elements of the film as a basis for comedy, leading to many funny moments even when Nadine is at her lowest. After all, isn’t this real life? Humor and drama are not mutually exclusive, and in high school, when severe drama is usually not as severe as the teenager believes, life is just a bundle of ridiculous with its ups and downs. Craig captures this sentiment well.
The Edge of Seventeen has plenty of humor, teen angst and charming romantic tidbits to make it one of the more entertaining movies of the year. It isn’t the funniest movie in the world, but it is funny, but more importantly, it’s grounded. Believable. Absorbing.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.