PLOT - Nadine (Hailee Steinfeld) has never fit in. She has had two people in her life that truly understand her; her father, and her childhood best friend, Krista (Haley Lu Richardson). Her father passed away from a heart attack years earlier and Nadine is stuck living with a mom that doesn't understand her, and an obnoxiously perfect brother, Darian ( Blake Jenner). Nadine's world comes crashing down her junior year in high school, when Krista and Darian discover that they are attracted to one another and begin dating. Krista is suddenly part of the popular crowd, and although she tries to include Nadine, Nadine is not interested. Can Nadine figure out a way to make her life less unbearable?
LIKE- The Edge of Seventeen feels like a realistic high school film, with normal, age-appropriate worries and actions. It's not a goofy teen comedy, nothing outrageous happens. This is refreshing. I liked the blend of home life vs school and adult problems vs teen problems, that the story tells. It's holistic and shows that problems don't simply vanish as soon as high school ends, yet high school isn't necessarily the greatest part of your life.
The secondary characters make this film. I really liked Woody Harrelson, in a somewhat subdued role, as Nadine's no-nonsense, yet caring, teacher. He is one of the few characters that doesn't let her get away with the attitude. Also great was Hayden Szeto, as Erwin, a fellow student that has a crush on Nadine. He's goofy and endearing, a perfect fit for Nadine, if only she can let down her guard. Jenner, as Nadine's brother, has a dramatic moment towards the end of the film, when he finally takes control of a situation that both Nadine and his mother have put him in. His storyline, as a kid who has to take on adult responsibilities after the loss of his father, is the most heartbreaking part of The Edge of Seventeen. It's clear from the start that Nadine's beef with her brother is unwarranted. I liked that Krista and Darien never actively try to exclude Nadine, even though she is awkward. Nadine's lack of popularity is really a construction in her own mind, and continues due to her negative attitude.
DISLIKE- I realize this is the entire point of the film, but Nadine is a very difficult character to like or have empathy towards. She's incredibly cynical, selfish, and melodramatic. Her attitude drove a wedge between us, I just couldn't feel a sense of happiness at the moment where she finally "gets it" and changes. It was too little too late. Luckily many of the supporting characters were likable and easy to root for, but I kept wondering why they put up with Nadine's crap. I wish she had been a little likable.
RECOMMEND- Maybe. The Edge of Seventeen is a good film, not a great one. It's a good rental if you're wanting a realistic family drama with a hint of dark comedy.