Film Review: Edge Of Seventeen Is A Comedic Op-Ed On Teen Angst

Written  and directed by  Kelly Fremon Craig, Edge Of Seventeen has been hailed by other critics as “the best comedy in decades”, which I would not go as far as to say that, but it is one of the sincerest. While the film has a lot of chuckles and laugh out loud moments, what makes it thrive is its unabashed look into teen self-loathing. While most adults look at youth as a time of fearlessness and optimism, Edge Of Seventeen reminds us how self-deprecating a phase it could be in our life. 

Hailee Steinfeld is near perfect as Nadine. the epitomized character of teen angst.  She captures and captivates all the awkwardness/anger teenagers feel towards themselves. From body image to intellectual prowess, our teen years are encapsulated by constant quotes that cut our spirits. Whether she marvels at how “stupid” she looks when she talks to literally says of “I hate myself”, Steinfeld blends the mutual charisma and annoyance of being young. When she is bright and witty, you cannot stop loving her, but when she is self-loathing and self-destructive, like a parent, you want to slap her. The emotional responses she stirs with her nuanced, natural performance is what elevates this film into an honest comedy. You find yourself laughing at how true she is, in erms, of teenaged anxiety, but beyond your giggle fits, you also learn.

What I loved most about Edge of Seventeen is the compassion and wisdom that is quietly woven into Craig’s script. You might not notice its virtuous brilliance till after it is over, but Edge of Seventeen is a masterful look into how the cruelty we carry towards ourselves, internally, can seep out into dark, external decisions. From her lack of compassion towards her more popular, but also kinder, older brother Darian (Blake Jenner) to her complete dismissal of best friend Krista (Haley Lu Richardson),
Nadine approaches people with a self-absorbed lens that makes them easy to toss. The best experiences in life, as seen by her humorous friendships with Erwin (Hayden Szeto) and Mr. Bruner (Woody Harrelson), are shared. Once, she realizes that she is not alone in her pain and struggles she becomes open to share with others in happiness. The message is powerful and revelatory that, although you must heal yourself from your own wounds, family and friends are like the medicinal love you get after spiritual surgery. They can help you through your self-healing process. 

I genuinely would recommend Edge Of Seventeen. It was incredibly witty and intelligent. It is a film that passes like a 104 minute breeze, and leaves some good, after thought conversations. You will, definitely, walk out with your friends questioning how you compare and contrast to Nadine’s
rambunctious and pained decisions. Yet, more importantly, you will look back on your own teenage years, and say, ‘It was not that bad. I do not know why I was so stressed all the time.” Edge of Seventeen is in theaters on November 18.