From director Kelly Fremon Craig comes The Edge of Seventeen, a story centered around a young high school girl named Nadine (Hailee Steinfeld) and the trials and tribulations known simply as, “her life.” This coming of age movie provides a comedic, yet brutally honest look at what it’s like to be different and face the daily struggle of growing up. Like many films that have come before and spoken to a generation that yearns to be seen for their individualism, this film screams for millennials in a way no other could.
High school junior Nadine leads a complicated existence. Between her awkwardness, dealing with a family tragedy, and a mother (Kyra Sedgwick) trying to understand how to connect with her, life hasn’t exactly worked out the way she planned. Nadine has navigated most of her life with best friend Krista (Haley Lu Richardson), her only friend who has helped curb her feelings of being an outcast and stands as the lone bright light in her dark world. All of that changes when Krista begins to date Nadine’s older brother Darian (Blake Jenner), which leads to a total meltdown mentally for Nadine. Faced with the unknown of her life once again, Nadine turns to her teacher and reluctant mentor Mr. Bruner (Woody Harrelson) for words of wisdom to help her face the world that she now faces, but it’s an unexpected friendship with Erwin (Hayden Szeto), an equally as awkward student who might be the one to show her that things aren’t that terrible after all.
This film connects with the psyche of every person who ever felt out of place in a big world where nothing makes sense. Hailee Steinfeld is quirky and wonderful as the unpredictable Nadine. She embodies the essence of being an awkward outcast with perfection. Woody Harrelson is wonderfully cast in the role of Mr Bruner and offers a raw, carefully restrained voice of reason for Nadine which, at times, seems to speak directly to the audience to provide some free therapy for our own lives. The stand out star of the film is Hayden Szeto whose thoughtful, awkward Erwin shows Nadine that it’s OK to be live by different rules and not allow it to exist as a negative in your life.
Overall, The Edge of Seventeen is the perfect coming of age film for this generation and stands as a reminder to us all to take a look inside and remember what it’s like to grow up.
4 out of 5