Review: The Edge of Seventeen
By John Corrado
★★★ (out of 4)
Emulating the spirit of 1980s high school classics from John Hughes and Cameron Crowe, with a screenplay by writer-director Kelly Fremon Craig that instantly cements her as a fresh new voice, The Edge of Seventeen is a modern teen film that is funny, smart and heartfelt.
Nadine (Hailee Steinfeld) is a self-deprecating high schooler who doesn’t have many friends, often eating lunch in the classroom with her sardonic teacher Mr. Bruner (Woody Harrelson).
But when her sole bestie Krista (Haley Lu Richardson) hooks up with her popular older brother Darian (Blake Jenner), Nadine’s whole world is thrown out of whack as she tries desperately to get attention, leading to even more problems at school and testing the patience of her harried mother (Kyra Sedgwick).
Nadine is a protagonist who feels both believable and relatable in all her awkward glory, and Hailee Steinfeld embodies her perfectly, handling both the comedic and dramatic beats of her character with aplomb in one of her best performances. Woody Harrelson delivers standout supporting work, and Haley Lu Richardson and Blake Jenner do a fine job of filling out their key roles.
Kyra Sedgewick is also good as Nadine’s workaholic mother, and newcomer Hayden Szeto is immensely charming as Erwin, a fellow classmate who harbours a not so secret crush on Nadine, but is instantly put in the friend zone. The cast does a great job of fleshing out their characters in The Edge of Seventeen, making the world they inhabit feel real, and the result is an entertaining and authentic teen film that holds up well alongside other modern classics of the genre.