Kelly Fremon Craig’s directorial debut shows incredibly much in incredibly little. As a premise, The Edge of Seventeen seems simple and one-dimensional. Girl’s best friend starts dating her brother, they fall out, and then both go back to being friends at the end, overlooking each other’s flaws.

But there is so much more to this movie than its central story. Nothing on the side feels like it is on the side. The entire package feels like the central plot and it really affects where Nadine is going to end up. When we’re at the Amusement Park with Nadine and Erwin, we’re there. We’re not waiting to get somewhere else. When Nadine’s mom takes her to work with her, we’re there. We’re not sorry for Nadine missing school. Craig might slow things down at some points but they’re not without purpose or meant to make the runtime go by. When she takes us somewhere, slows things down, she makes great advancements in the plot and shows character development with expert subtlety. The places feel like real places. The characters feel like real people. The problems they face are real problems. Harrelson is terrific as Nadine’s history teacher, and his dry humor is crisp and fantastic. Nadine herself is one of the most nuanced characters I’ve seen in cinema. At times we laugh at her wit and cheer her on but there are other times when we are horrified by her impulsive, immature actions. Hailee Steinfeld brings both self-confidence and an extreme social awkwardness to Nadine which makes her character so lovable.




Woody Harrelson is terrific as Nadine’s history teacher, and his dry humor is crisp and fantastic. Nadine herself is one of the most nuanced characters I’ve seen in cinema. At times we laugh at her wit and cheer her on but there are other times when we are horrified by her impulsive, immature actions. Hailee Steinfeld brings both self-confidence and an extreme social awkwardness to Nadine which makes her character so lovable.

Shout out to Erwin for not being an Asian comic stereotype in a teen movie! In a very tongue in cheek moment Nadine even jokes about stereotyping Erwin’s parents to which Erwin replies that she’s actually completely right about them. Erwin is a funny character, but he isn’t just comic relief. He shows how people we meet every day might have another side that we do not know.

The Edge of Seventeen is a film about nuance and non-fulfilment. And although all of Nadine’s expectations about family, friendship and love have been shattered again and again from an early age, something about it is so incredibly fulfilling that one cannot help but smile while watching this often so very sad movie. The Edge of Seventeen is a movie for the ages.

Author Bio

Arnesh Sengupta is a Class 12th student from Kolkata, India.

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