Tuesday, 10 January 2017

Film Review: "The Edge of Seventeen" (2016).

"You're only young once... is it over yet?"
This is also known as The Edge of Seventeen. This coming-of-age comedy-drama film written and directed by Kelly Fremon Craig. Everyone knows that growing up is hard, and life is no easier for high school junior Nadine, who is already at peak awkwardness when her all-star older brother Darian starts dating her best friend Krista. All at once, Nadine feels more alone than ever, until the unexpected friendship of a thoughtful boy gives her a glimmer of hope that things just might not be so terrible after all.

Writer/director Kelly Fremon Craig had written a spec script, in the mould of a John Hughes teen coming-of-age story, which she then sent to producer James L. Brooks, in hopes that he would produce the film. Ultimately, Brooks loved the script and ended up taking on the project. The film would go on to become Craig's directorial debut. The working title of the movie was originally Besties. In August 2015, Hailee Steinfeld was cast in the film to play the lead role. In September 2015, Woody Harrelson and Kyra Sedgwick joined the film's cast. In October 2015, Blake Jenner was cast in the film. By the end of 2015, Hayden Szeto and Haley Lu Richardson joined the film. Principal photography on the film began in October 2015, and concluded in December 2015. Locations included Hollywood North and Anaheim, California, and the Metro Vancouver area in Canada. Guildford Park Secondary in Surrey, British Columbia stood in for the film's fictional school Lakewood High School. 

The film stars Hailee Steinfeld, Haley Lu Richardson, Hayden Szeto, Blake Jenner, Woody Harrelson and Kyra Sedgwick. The cast gave terrific performances, especially that of Steinfeld, who carried the film all on her own. She can be seen as a modern day interpretation of Molly Ringwald's Samantha "Sam" Baker from Sixteen Candles (1984). She was entertaining and credible, and provided a perfect center for the story. Steinfeld is radiant here as the quintessential teen looking for the bright side to adolescence.

The Edge of Seventeen is a sweet and funny movie about some of the worst things that can happen to a girl during her adolescence. High school is high school no matter what the date, and Craig ensures that the constancies of that age remain unchanged. The film is a racy, drunken, hilarious high school comedy. It demonstrates writer and director Craig's keen eye for the foibles, inner torments and social embarrassment of adolescence. Though, most of the the movie is cheerful and light, showcasing Craig's knack for remembering all those aspects of middle-class American adolescent behavior that anyone else might want to forget. The premise is rather clichĂ©d and ordinary, but the film's dialogue is amusing, the gags are genuinely funny and its excellent cast is appealing. In the end, this high school film is just smart enough to be good and bad enough that it could be improved upon. A slightly over-sweet teen classic that's done just right.

Simon says The Edge of Seventeen receives:

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