Sunday, November 19, 2017

The Edge of Seventeen

Movie Name: The Edge of Seventeen
Year of Release: 2016
Director: Kelly Fremon Craig
Stars: Hailee Steinfeld, Haley Lu Richardson, Blake Jenner, Woody Harrelson, Kyra Sedgwick, Hayden Szeto, Alexander Calvert, Eric Keenleyside, Daniel Bacon, Ava Grace Cooper
Genre: Comedy, Drama
Score out of ten (whole numbers only): 6
View Trailer

"The Edge of Seventeen" is Kelly Fremon Craig's directorial debut, and comes with the producing stamp of acclaimed veteran writer/producer/director, James L. Brooks. The film follows the story of young Nadine, who is in high school, and has always felt as an outsider. Though her feelings of inadequacy have persisted from her childhood through adolescence, she always had the help of two people: her dad and her best friend, Krista. Sadly her father unexpectedly passes away, leaving her and the rest of her family dumbfounded, and her best friend starts dating her brother, someone Nadine has always considered too perfect to relate to. She has an unspoken crush on a boy in her school, but suddenly an intelligent and considerate classmate comes into play.
Unlike the staple and iconic John Hughes films of the 1980s, that perfectly portrayed and captured adolescence and the angst of growing up, Kelly Fremon Craig, focuses specifically on what being a precocious and strong willed young woman in the age of technology and social media actually means. Nadine, the focal character, is far from perfect, which makes her an interesting and compelling character to observe and follow - she obeys her own impulses, not weighing the consequences of her actions, or what impact they have on the lives of her mother and brother. The film creates a nuanced observation of what is being young in the age of social media, though it still relies on some stereotypes to get the message across (namely the inaccessible love interest, the timid boy next door with the crush on the heroine). The chosen actors are impeccable, with Hailee Steinfeld easily carrying the film on her talented shoulders (and Woody Harrelson creating a character that is sympathetic and humorous for a change). The film definitely lacks a more distinct point of view, but it's a solid debut.