By Adam Ray Palmer
Today’s review is a sneaky DVD preview of The Edge of Seventeen that hits the shelves on Monday 27th March – not long to wait!
Written and directed by Kelly Fremon Craig, The Edge of Seventeen stars the talented Hailee Steinfeld, Woody Harrelson, Blake Jenner and Hailey Lu Richardson.
I heard big things over the pond in the US so I was more than looking forward to this one…
The Edge of Seventeen follows the day-to-day life of awkward 17-year-old Nadine (Hailee Steinfeld) who meet still grieving over her father’s death four years prior, and then finds out her best (and only) friend Krista (Hailey Lu Richardson) is dating her hunky and overly popular big brother Darian (Blake Jenner). This cues a few ‘mistakes’ and adolescent faux pas like accidently sending a ‘sext’ to her all-time crush. Nadine gets so fed up, she finds solace with Mr. Bruner (Woody Harrelson) who also feels the emotional strain of life.
Billed as a coming-of-age comedy, The Edge of Seventeen simply cannot rest in that category alone. To me, it has more of a drama-feel to it than laugh-out-loud musings. Don’t get me wrong, there’s a few sequences throughout where I chuckled, but I think it’s a lot more poignant than that. A lot of that emotion is firmly laid down at the ensembles door.
The leading cast, from Steinfeld all the way to her distant teacher Harrelson, are on top form here. Hailee is wonderfully authentic with the perfect concoction of immaturity and finding out who she is a person. She’s opinionated, awkward, difficult and has angst in abundance. Steinfeld’s Nadine makes the movie sit in the middle ground of being a witty comedy and a touching drama. Blake Jenner, Richardson and Harrelson all chip in with great assisting scenes. They anchor the film’s frustration as it portrays that life sometimes doesn’t go the way you want it, but it’s how you recover and go again.
This film is extremely reminiscent of the drama The Perks of Being a Wallflower, but not as impactful. Steinfeld has a lot to do here as the film revolves around her, where in Wallflower, we have a trio of protagonists to learn and digest; each serving a different purpose and social aspect. Steinfeld is given the entire runtime to work with and I’m not sure there’s enough plot to warrant the two hours. There’s a few areas that are mentioned and could have been explored but that would change the type of film dramatically.
There’s certainly a charm to The Edge of Seventeen, you know when you’re watching this that Craig (director) has an important story to tell. There's a quiet power to Nadine's youthful fragility and what she learns about herself and the people who love and support her. Through Nadine, Craig captures the feeling of being alone, not knowing your humanistic value and the not knowing your place in the world. In Nadine’s case, her own beauty too. She seems hell-bent on chasing the bad boy without realising for so long that her classmate Erwin is the ‘good guy’.
There’s going to be diehard fans of this film and that’s fair, I just feel that there was an emotional punch lacking. I expected a stronger tear-jerking moment and it never arrived. That’s the main reason why Wallflower is going to be so hard to beat for me. That hits you over the head with a teen-angst-ridden bat before showering you with social stigmas that we must breakdown. You mission… see them both, report back below for a debate.
Cineroom’s Rating: 3.5 Stars
The Edge of Seventeen is out on DVD on 27th March 2017 – Certificate 15