By Shelby Fielding (Lubbock, Texas, US)
Edge of Seventeen: An Independent Success
Edge of Seventeen is the newly released independent film directed by Kelly Fremon Craig, and stars Hailee Steinfeld, Haley Lu Richardson, and Woody Harrelson. This film is being highly nominated for many awards in the indie world as well as praised by critics worldwide. This film tells the story of a girl named Nadine who has trouble making friends as well as fitting into school. After a family tragedy that happened when she was a bit younger she has to find out how to deal with some drama concerning her best friend and her brother. We as an audience get to watch as Nadien battles these internal conflicts of depression, awkwardness, and guilt. And, we as an audience get to enjoy a beautifully directed film with great performances from Hailee Steinfeld and Woody Harrelson.
Let me start by saying this film does not have an original narrative, but the way the film tells this narrative is what makes it completely original. This film relies on dialogue driven scenes to help create characterization, as opposed to a heavy use of popular pop songs and slow and overly dramatic scenes that don’t make the audience feel emotion instead they feel boredom. The direction used by Kelly Fremon Craig is truly awesome to watch. She uses these very great shots that encompass you into the film as if were a friend watching it all. What this film really does well is the realism of it all. These characters are portraying high schoolers and they talk like high schoolers. These actors drop every curse word you can think of, because let’s be honest high school kids do not talk like they are on Disney. But, the director made sure to enforce the film does not rely on this dialogue it instead relies on humor and the chemistry between its actors. The humor in this film had me grabbing my sides and questioning if this was truly a mellow teen drama film. Which I came to the easy conclusion this isn’t.
This is a film with deeper themes and motifs of growing up, overcoming other people’s judgement of you, and healing from grief not only as a person but as a family. The performances are well done with Hailee Steinfeld stealing the show not only with her personal performance of Nadine, but as well as her on-screen chemistry with her history teacher Mr. Bruner played by Woody Harrelson. They’re dialogue was incredibly entertaining to watch with hilarious quips and insults that made you wonder why can’t all teen films be like this one. Hayden Szeto who plays Erwin was also hilarious to watch as he plays this shy kid who is awesome to watch. This film isn’t perfect though the flaws I had with the film centralize around the performances and the script.
The performances were good overall, but some of these performances had trouble portraying certain emotions in certain scenes. Not that they were bad portrayals it’s just they left me a little underwhelmed as an audience member. The problem I had with the script was that even though it does use original dialogue it does rely on clichés. As far as the clichés of the girl not knowing the other guy likes her, and the older sibling being the better looking sibling along with many others. I don’t necessarily blame the script writers for following these clichés it just would have made that film that better if they didn’t.
Overall I loved The Edge of Seventeen and I found it incredibly refreshing. This film uses great direction and stand out performances by Hailee Steinfeld and Woody Harrelson to make this film not only standout, but makes the film award worthy in my opinion. I still think the flaws I have with the film were annoying, but overall they don’t really drag down the film that much, and that’s why I am going to give The Edge of Seventeen an A-. I do recommend you go see this movie in theatres I do think you will enjoy it. Let me know if you do in the comments down below, and let me know if you liked this review.
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