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Edge of Seventeen Review: A Near Perfect Coming of Age Film

December 3, 2016

Edge of Seventeen was marketed as your typical coming of age film.  A protagonist who has to lose their virginity because of some weird self-imposed inadequacy.   Thankfully, I’m here to tell you the Edge of Seventeen is more than just what it was marketed as.  It’s just better, in every way.

 

I don’t think I’ve ever, not even once, related to a character in a coming of age film, even when I was coming of age.  They had these fantastical lives that were so far from my reality, that they might as well been in a Harry Potter film.  Edge of Seventeen is refreshing in that it makes all of the characters relatable.  Almost none of the characters fall into the typical archetypes that we see in just about every one of these films. 

 

They are all written, and performed so well that I saw each of them as someone I knew when I was growing up. This is completely Nadine’s (Hailee Steinfeld) story.  In a way, this is a complete representation of how she sees the world.  She thinks that she is the only one who is awkward, and above all, has problems.  Her world is a series of seemingly world-ending disasters that are results of embarrassing choices.  She’s dramatic and pissed off, aka every teenager ever. 

 

It’s not just her story that drives the narrative. Nadine’s brother, who is seemingly a typical jock, has a lot more going on, not just in his personality, but in his life.  He is instantly likeable as soon as you realize that he is not what his sister paints him to be.  However, his sleeping with Nadine’s best and only friend, Krista, is what sends Nadine into a spiral of self-loathing that is deflected onto others.  She acts without thinking, can’t make friends, and says consistently selfish things, all before her brain can catch up to her mouth.  She knows everything…that is, until she is proven she doesn’t know anything time and time again.  It’s wonderfully refreshing to see a coming of age movie with more than just hormones, but a lot of heart and smarts as well.

 

I also just briefly want to mention that Woody Harrelson as Mr. Bruner, Nadine’s teacher, is a spectacular highlight whenever he is on screen.  He’s funny and caring in a down-to-earth way that makes him feel like your favorite uncle.  His presence really rounds out this already spectacular film in surprising ways.

 

Edge of Seventeen will go down as a classic, even if it doesn’t come in at number one at the box office.  Its fantastic writing and lovable characters will win anyone over who’s willing to give it a try.  

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