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Remember all those teen movies about how much fun it is to be a
teenager? Porky's, Ferris Bueller's Day Off, all those American Pie
movies and movies that spend an inordinate amount of time at the beach,
to name a few. These are typical teenage movies. The Edge of Seventeen
is not a typical teenage movie, and that is what makes it so great. Oh,
there have been other great non-typical teenage films of late, like The
Perks of Being a Wallflower, but somehow Seventeen stands alone.
Perhaps it is the intense and thoroughly committed performance of
Hailee Steinfeld who started her film career under the tutelage of the
Cohn Brothers in their remake of True Grit (oh yeah, and was nominated
for an Oscar at the age of 14, although principle filming occurred
while she was 13). Hailee so captures the angst of Nadine, whose name
alone sets her apart, (Nadine was the most common name given to baby
girls in 1958); that one cannot help but ache for her. Nadine carries
the weight of the world on her shoulders and believes herself to be
unlike any of the other kids who text each other about the tacos
they're eating, and communicate in emojis.
She plays well alongside her favorite teacher, portrayed cheekily by
Woody Harrelson who provides some of the best laughs in the film, as
one might expect. Also of note, I think, is the quirky, lovable and
downright cute performance of Hayden Szeto as Erwin. Erwin sits next to
Nadine in class stumbling and bumbling his way through awkward repartee
in the hopes of some sort of hook-up. But nothing is typical here, and
the course that said repartee takes leads us into uncharted teen
territory. It might also be interesting to note that the name Erwin was
the most common baby name in 1918, which makes this Erwin an old soul,
to be sure.
Kelly Fremon Craig has written a real gem here, and his first directing
effort will earn him much critical acclaim, to be sure. The thing he
does masterfully is take us inside the character of Nadine by giving us
so many moments alone with her; moments when we experience in her
stillness, in her eyes, and in her facial discipline as an actress the
absolute bankruptcy of her isolation. None of us would want to be
seventeen again, or ever; at least not her seventeen.
I am grateful to the studio, and to the Marcus Corporation for giving
some of us movie lovers an opportunity to pre-screen this film that
will be released on November 18th. I suppose they hope we will say good
things about it and get others to go see the film. Well, go see the
film. You will laugh, and you will need a few tissues, but you will not
regret having spent a few hours walking in Nadine's shoes. Perhaps
there is a little Nadine in all of us after all.
Tags for The Edge of Seventeen Full Movie
, Hailee Steinfeld
, Kyra Sedgwick
, Woody Harrelson
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