Nadine (Hailee Steinfeld) means well. She really does, but being a teenager is hard. Nadine is trying to figure life out and get through her teenage years with as few scratches as possible when her best friend Krista (Haley Lu Richardson) falls in love with her older brother Darian (Blake Jenner) and throws the world she thought she knew into a tailspin. When they begin dating, Nadine tries to be okay with it and fails. Krista has been her only friend since childhood and it is clear early on that Nadine feels like she’s losing her to her brother and his friends. As younger siblings tend to do, Nadine sees her brother as the guy with the perfect life and not a care in the world. As the person who has had it much easier than she ever did. So, what do you do when you feel like you’re losing the only bit of stability you had? You lash out.
Nadine’s mother, Mona (Kyra Sedgwick) takes the brunt of Nadine’s anger and grief. Mona and Nadine never really got along, Nadine was always closer with her father, a man who Nadine says is the only person who could handle them both. On the surface, it would seem as though Mona is flippant in her parental duties but it becomes clear quickly that she is just trying to keep her family afloat. When Nadine isn’t upset with her brother, best friend, or mother, she’s hanging out with Erwin (Hayden Szeto), a guy she befriends and confides in – who she knows has a crush on her. When she is not confiding in Erwin, she talks to her teacher Mr. Bruner (Woody Harrelson) and daydreams about Nick Mossman (Alexander Calvert), the popular guy she’s had a crush on forever.
The Edge of Seventeen is a story of loss, love, grief, and the aftermath of grief. This is a movie that gives its teenage characters the complexity and intelligence that they were not afforded in other “teen movies.” Still, there are the classic awkward moments to cringe and laugh about that every teen movie deserves. The writing is smart, the characters are sharp and quick-witted, and the story of a young girl trying to find her way in the world is one we can all relate to.
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‘The Edge of Seventeen’ is Now Out on DVD. Photo courtesy of ScreenCrush.