Monday, May 29, 2017


Welcome to another installment of COMEDY CORNER, where we review the movies that make the world laugh, or those that just try to. This week's pick is the 2016 dramatic comedy...THE EDGE OF SEVENTEEN.

One of 2016's best films was one that seemed to fly under the radar for many people.  I know it did for me.  I remember seeing the trailers and hearing some people give it praise, and I thought that it sounded like a good movie to watch, but for some reason, I never did.  Then last week I finally decided to give it a watch...and boy, was I pleasantly surprised.

The Edge of Seventeen is a coming-of-age dramatic comedy starring Hailee Steinfeld and Woody Harrelson, and tells the story of a high school Junior named Nadine (Steinfeld) who finds life as a teen to be somewhat unbearable.  This becomes worse when her best friend, Krista (Haley Lu Richardson), starts dating her older brother, and the only one she feels comfortable talking to about this is her reluctant, sarcastic teacher, Mr. Bruner (Harrelson).

This was such a surprise hit for me, I couldn't believe how much I actually enjoyed it.  It has definitely earned a spot in my Top 5 for all of 2016, and I really wish I had taken the opportunity to watch it in theaters when it first came out.  But, better late than never I suppose.

One of the best things about this film is the near-perfect chemistry between Hailee Steinfeld and Woody Harrelson.  I've always been a fan of Harrelson, but it wasn't until this that I discovered my love for Hailee Steinfeld.  It's the first thing that I've really noticed her in, and I now want to see her in more.  Her snarky, comedic timing was on point, and I believe we'll see some big things from her in the near future.

This is actually the directorial debut for Kelly Fremon Craig, who also wrote the film, and whose only other feature film writing credit was for the 2009 rom-com, Post Grad, starring Alexis Bledel and Michael Keaton.  I have not seen this film, but after how much I loved The Edge of Seventeen, I just might have to check it out, because if the script is even close to being as good, I'm sure I'll enjoy it.  Craig's direction was great, but it was her use of dialogue that was the true star.  All of the quips and cracks balanced phenomenally with the emotional beats of the film.  I look forward to whatever her next project may be.

The story in this film isn't entirely original, but that's really not the point.  As with most coming-of-age films, certain tropes need to be used, especially teen angst, and they were used perfectly here.  A great movie isn't dictated by how original the material is, but instead how it's presented.  With great writing, great directing, and great acting, this is one film that I will be talking about about for years to come.  Like with my favorite 2014 film, The Way Way Back, when someone now asks me to name a great coming-of-age film, The Edge of Seventeen will absolutely be on that list.

The Merc's Score: 9/10

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