The Edge of Seventeen is the rare coming of age comedy that immediately took me in with its smart writing and relatable characters.
Title: The Edge of Seventeen
Director: Kelly Fremon Craig
Summary: High-school life gets even more unbearable for Nadine when her best friend, Krista, starts dating her older brother.
The people who say said your teens are were the best years of your life are were lying liars who lie. I cannot think of a single person past the age of twenty who that looks back at high school fondly. We all got through it with the promise that the real world would be different, only to find out co-workers are just as cliquey as students in the cafeteria. The movies that depict this time period either try to idealize what it must have been like or they feel like adults talking down to the next generation. I knew within five minutes of The Edge of Seventeen that this movie was going to be different.
I don’t have cable television and I try not to watch trailers (when possible and when I can help myself), so I went into this movie with a different perspective. I’ve been told a lot of the best jokes are in the trailers for The Edge of Seventeen which is a shame because there are some great jokes here. As someone who enjoys dark comedy, a movie that opens with the main character Nadine, (Hailee Steinfeld) sitting down in front of her teacher Mr. Bruner, (Woody Harrelson) and declaring that she is going to kill herself is sure to get my attention. As she goes on about how this seems like something an adult should know about Bruner wastes no time throwing it back at her. It’s a dark moment that I found absolutely hilarious. As someone who struggles with a form of mental illness, high school was a dark period for me complete with a suicide attempt. A movie that tries to make light of something like that will always resonate more for me.
The thing that first time writer/director Kelly Fremon Craig seems to understand about teenagers is that they aren’t stupid, they are just overly dramatic. There isn’t a thing that happens to someone at that age that doesn’t feel like a world ending disaster or a life completing accomplishment. That is the age when you are so over the top that it feels like the jokes write themselves. What Craig seems to understand is that compassion and understanding that we all went through this makes it feel so much more genuine. Craig makes this all funny while not making fun of the characters themselves. Their feelings are extreme, yes, but they aren’t invalid. The writing combined with the great delivery from the entire cast makes this a teen comedy that shouldn’t be missed.
The Edge of Seventeen has one of the best scripts this year with a director that truly seems to understand and empathize. Craig isn’t here to poke fun at teenagers, but more to remind us all that we were all this dramatic when we were seventeen and that’s just fine.