For Reel

The Edge of Seventeen (2016)
February 28, 2017, 3:48 pm
Filed under: Reviews | Tags: ,

Director: Kelly Fremon Craig
4.5 Stars
the-edge-of-seventeenAs seventeen-year-old Nadine Franklin’s (Hailee Steinfeld) life becomes increasingly out of control, she is reminded that, “Everyone in the world is as miserable and empty as I am, they’re just better at pretending.” It’s an isolationist sentiment, but more importantly one of incredible self-loathing—when her best friend (Haley Lu Richardson) falls for her brother (Blake Jenner), the severity of the blow leads Nadine down a path of incredible self-destruction. She takes to lashing out with hurtful statements everytime she herself feels hurt, floundering with a cruel gracelessness that’s all too familiar  to those who’ve felt like the deck has been increasingly stacked against them. If The Edge of Seventeen does involve the sweetness that one would expect of a teen comedy—though, mercifully, not sickly so (save for an overly-acted third act moment from Kyra Sedgwick)—it is in the way that the film demonstrates depression that it most distinguishes itself. Steinfeld, playing Nadine as a firecracker who rages her way into her history teacher’s classroom during lunch in order to vent her miseries, has a terrific way of letting the audience see through to her character’s vulnerabilities while behaving brash and sometimes outright cruel. Unlike the most cliché, sentimental high school films, The Edge of Seventeen demonstrates high school as being a time of crushing hormones, inevitable disappointment, and compromise—the audience will take comfort in the fact that these are not Nadine’s glory years, but rather she has an enormous potential to grow and flourish beyond them.

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