Saturday, February 4, 2017


Everyone knows that growing up is hard. Life is no easier for high school junior Nadine (Hailee Steinfeld), who is already at peak awkwardness when her all-star older brother Darian (Blake Jenner) starts dating her best friend Krista (Haley Lu Richardson). All at once, Nadine feels more alone than ever, until the unexpected friendship of a thoughtful boy (Hayden Szeto) gives her a glimmer of hope that things just might not be so terrible after all.

Being a huge follower of the coming of age/teen drama genre, from the John Hughes days in 80s to all of the modern incarnations, I was very excited by the prospect of another great teen dramedy and getting to finally see it was a real pleasure, as this is full of brilliant witty comedy in the same measure of heartfelt drama.

What strikes me the most about this film is the fact that it's the debut feature for director Kelly Fremon Craig. She demonstrates a confidence in the storytelling that is something we see in very few debuts. The material is so varied and touches, as said above, the extremes in both comedy and drama, yet the coherence in the tone of the film never, ever wavers. Every scene, as in all great storytelling, catapults us into the next one. The characters constantly evolve and learn new things and probably the very best part, is that everyone of them, from leading to secondary supporting, has a truly three dimensional dynamic. You understand where all of them come from. Nobody is condemned to a clich├ęd flatness and from this emerges constantly entertaining conflict.

The cast is a showcase of great actors, They do justice to great characters, as none of them come out as stale. They all find a place in the story and make the most out of what they can do with the fascinating script. Steinfeld's work is Oscar worthy, she gives such a beautiful portrayal of the sadness in the character she plays and how she comes out of it. Besides Steinfeld, Hayden Szeto has to be mentioned in particular because his timing, his awkwardness, and, ultimately, his heartfelt performance make for a very good touching, quirky, and genuine character.

This film perfectly embodies the vision is set out to complete. It is surprising and unpredictable at every turn, constantly engaging you in the novelty of the characters. It gets character narration incredibly right. The beauty of laughing hard in a scene and going to the completely opposite emotional spectrum five minutes later, and feel elated by both dynamics, is a joy very few films manage to nail and The Edge of Seventeen does that. It is an incredibly mature film in the way it faces its themes and sets, in my humble opinion, a very good example. I had a blast with this film.

James' Score: 8.5/10

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