Do you remember when you were seventeen years old? I do, vividly, because it was a pivotal year for me – we had just immigrated to the United States and I was still trying to find myself in this new place I moved to. It was a very difficult year for sure, but I cherish it – as the Janis Ian song goes, “I learned the truth at seventeen.’
Hallee Steinfeld plays Nadine in Kelly Fremon Craig’s ‘The Edge Of Seventeen,’ and she is having the worst time – her best friend sine second grade, Krista, has started to date her older brother, Darian, and the thing is, Krista is her only friend. (Nadine is one of those awkward teenagers) and to add to hat, the boy she is smitten with is not givign her the time of day. She is having a tough time with her mother, who is struggling with balancing tings since her husband passed away. But there’s good news – her seatmate Erwin is kind of into her.
The plot seems like your average teen movie, but there’s a lot of great things going on here. First off, Steinfeld is perfection. Her character is mostly unlikable (There were times I abhorred her) but she plays it with a balance of tenderness and aggression that you understand where she is coming from. The characters here aren’t cookie character caricatures – her brother Darian could have been one of those one-dimensional jock himbos but here Darian is sensitive and responsible, picking up their father’s slack. (Blake Jenner, as Darian, is sensational) You can feel all the pain of being seventeen here, and by the end, as Nadine is one step closer to finding herself, you feel you did, too. I hope this film doesn’t get lost in the year end shuffle – this would have been more suited for summer.