Director: Kelly Fremon Craig
Cast: Hailee Steinfeld, Blake Jenner, Woody Harrelson
Running Time: 99 minutes
Release Date: 28th November
There has been a sneaking suspicion in recent years that teen movies have been getting a little too grown up for their own good. Earnestness has been creeping in in place of awkwardness and some of that fairy dust that made these films so relatable feels as though it has been lost as a result. Thankfully, The Edge of Seventeen avoids these pitfalls and proves itself a refreshing antidote to recent po-faced fare with a bittersweet comedy that is definitely more John Hughes than John Green.
Our heroine Nadine (Hailee Steinfeld) is seventeen and convinced the world is against her. Eternally in the shadow of her jock brother Darian (Blake Jenner) and still dealing with the death of her father, her one escape is her relationship with her best friend Krista (Haley Lu Richardson). All that changes, however, when after a boozy evening she finds Darian and Krista in a rather compromising position and soon finds herself out of a friend when they begin dating. Suddenly left to her own devices, Nadine begins an epic unravelling that is as relatable as it is hilarious.
Writer/director Kelly Fremon Craig’s script feels lived in and true and doesn’t spare us any embarrassing details: Nadine’s infatuation with a local juvenile delinquent is wonderfully misguided while her blossoming romance with film geek Irwin nails young love’s ratio of sweetness to cruelty. Meanwhile, Woody Harrelson is on top form as Mr Bruner, her straight talking English teacher, who councils her with a mixture of cynicism and sentiment.
While the aforementioned Hughes’ films as well as Cameron Crowe’s 80’s output are without doubt major influences, the recent film that The Edge of Seventeen is most reminiscent of is perhaps Jason Reitman and Diablo Cody’s Juno. Both films boast whip-smart female protagonists with an endless arsenal of scathing one-liners and both refuse to turn the camera away when shit gets really awkward.
Not since Mean Girls has a scalpel been taken to teenage life with such clinical efficiency. A couple of years down the line, you wouldn’t bet against The Edge of Seventeen enjoying the same level of devoted following.