04/06/18 Day 2: Edge of Seventeen
I remember watching the trailer for Edge of Seventeen back in 2016 and thought this movie really gets what it's like being a teenager. Of course, you can't always tell whether a trailer is going to deliver with the film it's trying to sell.
This one did.
I grew up watching a lot of teen films and they tend to either fall into the two categories of Disney or John Hughes schmaltz (Not trying to be disrespectful as I love both Disney and John Hughes schmaltz. And there’s nothing wrong with schmaltzy as long as it feels organic and not shoved down your throat. I found myself more invested in a film than I have been for quite some time.
Nadine (Hailee Steinfeld) is the school wallflower along with her best friend Krista (Haley Lu Richardson). One night when Nadine’s drank too much and passed out. Krista is left to clear up the party with Nadine's older and much more socially outgoing brother Darian (Blake Jenner) and one thing leads to another...and the next morning Nadine catches the two "together". The rest of the film deals with Nadine trying to work her way through High School without her only friend whilst being pursued by a lovably goof, Erwin (Hayden Szeto).
Hayden Szeto is so good at playing a shy awkward teen without it ever being cartoonish. I saw a lot of my younger self in him. When an adolescent struggles to express themselves the typical reaction is to turn to expressing themselves through art/music/writing. I saw a lot of myself in him and his journey through the film is so well done you sort of wish there was more of him.
Where did this trope of the super cool school teacher’s that American kids can just hang with or get dating advice from at lunch? I’m looking at you Paul Rudd in Perks about being a Wallflower and Jon Bernthal in Me, Earl and the Dying girl. Lucky kids. In the 8
Even after the film is finished, part of me was disappointed still with Krista. She knows Nadine is alone without her. She’s not just her friend, she is Nadine’s ONLY friend. You end up with the feeling that their friendship won’t ever to be able to recover from where it was. Thinking it over now, the film does end optimistic without resolving all the relationships. I’m sure the book goes into more detail with Krista and Nadine but the film focuses a lot on the too together for the 1st third and then Krista takes a backseat and sort of loses her importance as a character in the story.
Many of the characters are typical coming of age movie archetypes. The awkward protagonist. The douchey brother. The best friend that faults out. They are all stereotypes on paper but never feel like stereotypes in the movie. They are all believable characters. So much of the film works. I found it refreshing how the guy Nadine has her crush on (Alexander Calvert) is a jerk, but they never made him out to be this incredible guy. He’s all style and confidence with no actual substance- a type of crush that everybody would go for as a teenager. When they meet up later on in the film, I really believed that yes, that is exactly the interaction these two characters would have and that sort of summed up the movie for me as a whole. I believe the characters, I believe the writing. This film manages to really convey what it’s actually like to be a teenager. Even as a guy I was able to relate so much to Nadine who is not perfect but you stay on her side even when she’s being bratty. In England, we have a very popular teen film called Angus, Thongs and Perfect Snogging which is aimed at teens a few years younger. Yet I felt a relation between the two and would make them a double billing of girls coming-of-age films.
Oh, and these may be spoilers but I have to talk about them.
1. A moment that really struck me. At the start of the film, Nadine is at a party and is unable to participate and gets left out. Right at the end, the same thing is about to happen and Erwin brings her in and gave a moment that every insecure teen would resonate with.
PLEASE TURN YOUR GODDAMN PHONE OFF WHEN YOU’RE IN A GODDAMN CINEMA
I could not deal with this, I don’t care what the situation is, take the call before you enter haha. Rant over. Review done. Goodbye.