The Edge of Seventeen

Starring Oscar-nominated actress Hailee Steinfeld, The Edge of Seventeen is a surprisingly good coming-of-age movie about a teenage girl facing the typical pitfalls of an American highschooler. Steinfeld plays an insecure seventeen-year-old named Nadine who feels overshadowed by her handsome and popular older brother and has only one true friend. Like most teenage comedies, the film follows the often awkward and, in retrospect, laughable experiences that a typical teenager goes through in average American society. Feeling like she has no place especially after experiencing a personal tragedy several years prior, she tries to fit in with her high school peers by trying to become popular while grappling with her social awkwardness, sexuality, and emotional instability. Throughout the film, she turns to her rather dour yet ultimately motivational history teacher, portrayed by Woody Harrelson, who almost begrudgingly gives her advice on life, with a realistic perspective. She is unable to truly connect with her mother, played by Kyra Sedgwick, who seems to favor her older brother and has her own personal problems to deal with following the family tragedy. Nadine is particularly upset after she learns that her best friend is dating her brother and her crush appears to be completely oblivious to her existence. She appears to take actions that are completely out of her character as a means of coming to terms with her complicated life. Towards the end of the movie, she comes to a better realization of who she is and develops an unexpected bond with a fellow classmate. Overall, I found the film to be much more than your typical high school comedy as a result of its stellar performances and terrifically original screenplay. As other critics have remarked, it is strikingly similar to the classic 1980’s John Hughes films, including Sixteen Candles and The Breakfast Club, and breathes new life to the teen angst comedy drama genre.

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