The Edge of Seventeen
Time Out says
A sharp teen comedy? It's not impossible, even in the wake of John Hughes or Clueless.
If you’ve forgotten the agony and sheer hormone-soaked awfulness of being a 16-year-old, watch this teen comedy starring Hailee Steinfeld (True Grit and, more recently, the newbie in Pitch Perfect 2). Steinfeld is awkward Nadine, whose snarky putdowns and sharp edges mask a broken heart. Her dad died a few years ago and her only friend is sweet-natured Krista (Haley Lu Richardson). When Krista starts dating Nadine's popular older brother (Blake Jenner), she responds with mean-girl fury: "What if I gave your dad a hand job?" Like most teenagers, Nadine is her own worst enemy. She gives Krista an ultimatum: him or me.
You can see ghosts of teen movies past in The Edge of Seventeen (movies by Cameron Crowe and ’80s king John Hughes particularly). First-time director Kelly Fremon Craig, working from her own smart script—it has a handful of try-too-hard wrong notes—reminds us how superior and cruel teenagers can be. Nadine thinks she understands the pathetic grown-ups around her, ridiculing her history teacher (Woody Harrelson, at his most Woody Harrelson-ish) for being a low-paid state employee. And this is a guy trying to help her. Steinfeld, though, has the knack of being able to play Nadine at peak asshole while garnering huge sympathy, as she slowly learns that nobody’s got the secret to being happy—everyone feels alone and empty. As a memorable teen character, she’s almost up there with Cher from Clueless or Ellen Page's Juno. Watch and wince.
Cast and crew
Haley Lu Richardson