Teen angst comedy with Kyra Sedgwick, Woody Harrelson, and show stealing teen Hailee Steinfeld. Awkward teen Nadine has never fitted in. In her family her older brother has always been the winner, lots of friends and attention, while Nadine has thought too much and never really found her place in the family or with friends. Apart from that one good friend that is Krista, who is just her world now, and the constant support that she needs. Trouble starts when Krista starts to date Nadine’s brother Darian. Add to this horrid mix of veggies the fact that her Dad has died and her Mom is a basket case in the making. It seems the only true friend she has is a Teacher who finds her annoying most of the time and is just as sarcastic as the teens he teaches.
A long time ago now, and it’s hard to believe that it’s been THAT long ago, but I remember going to see 10 Things I Hate About You! The relatively unknown cast of teens, that were probably in their 20’s, turned The Taming of the Shrew into something that people of any age could enjoy. The cast felt like they got along and the chemistry just worked. To this day it’s one of my favourite films ever. It’s been a long dry spell since then though with very few teen comedies being able to match that feeling of goofy fun with a massive heart, and I’m thankful, you don’t know how thankful, that Edge of Seventeen has come into my life.
We’ve seen this type of film before, yes, yes we have, but when there are performances like this with such a wonderful cast getting a beautiful script to bring to the screen you forgive everything.
Two stand out performances, not that all the performances are good, but there are two that are amazing. Woody Harrelson as the Teacher who Nadine constantly goes to in order to vent, it’s just a pleasure to watch him not give a flying feck about her problems yet be calm enough to listen, from the very first moment they interact with one another it’s just bliss. Harrelson over the years has had good roles, a lot of terrible roles, and this amazingly simple and yet stinging role. More of this Mr. Harrelson. Please!
The second stand out role and the role that the film hinges on is Hailee Steinfeld who plays Nadine is one of the greatest talents I’ve seen. At only 20 years old her comedic timing is that of a comedy performer that has been doing this for 40 years. There are stand ups who come to the big screen that can’t pull off her natural ability. You may remember Ms. Steinfeld from Pitch Perfect 2, but I don’t know why they didn’t take more use out of her talents in that film, instead we got a lot of unfunny time with over-rated Wilson. I’ll leave that there.
Everything in Edge of Seventeen runs like you’d expect this type of teen comedy to run. For the most part it’s formulaic in its presentation. But it has this mix of Ghost World in there, bubbling under the surface, that makes you sit up and want more. In saying that the film has a good running time which it fills masterfully and keeps you laughing. It’s not one of those comedies that preys on the audience with weak jokes that you don’t find funny. Edge of Seventeen is the best scripted comedy I’ve seen come out of America this year. If you are like me and loved 10 Things I Hate About You, Ghost World, and the good teen comedies of the 80’s and 90’s then this is for you. It’s what I’d imagine John Hughes would direct if we hadn’t lost his talent. This is surely going to end up on my Top 10 list of the year. Do yourself an favour and treat your soul to a great comedy!
Director: Kelly Fremon Craig
Writer: Kelly Fremon Craig
Stars: Hailee Steinfeld, Haley Lu Richardson, Blake Jenner