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"I had the worst thought," 17-year-old Nadine says during one of her typically messed-up days. "I have to spend the rest of my life with myself." That straightforward, simple statement—said with a slightly depressed sigh—is something many of us have probably felt at certain seasons of our lives. And if you think about it, it's a philosophical realization that carries equal parts heartache and hope. After all, we do have to live with the choices we make, with the people we become. We must pick up and shoulder our every mistake and thick-headed action. Fortunately, while we tread through this difficult life, we can make thoughtful decisions as well. We sometimes connect with others who make that trudging journey with ourselves just a bit better. They can even make us want to be a bit better. That's the message this coming-of-age flick endeavors to communicate: Life can stink, but it has its good moments, too. That message is delivered via well-acted, brisk humor. In fact, I'd go so far as to say that actress Hailee Steinfeld's Nadine is as likeable a crying-out-for-help teen as you're likely to meet onscreen. The problem is The Edge of Seventeen also packs noxious teen-movie content into that humor and insight. It accepts the "fact" that an average high schooler's day is constantly peppered with f-bombs and the like. It takes it for granted that adults are generally just as messed up and wisdom-free as their kids—regularly taking off and leaving teenagers to their own drunken beer-pong partying ways on the weekends. For that matter, in this cinematic world it's fine and dandy for a teen to bring his current squeeze up to his room for a, uh, sleepover—even when mom or dad are just down the hall. It's that kind of worldview, with its "modern" mixed messages, that makes this pic less than it could have been. Not to mention less enjoyable to spend at least a part of your life with.Click here to read the full review
Despite being marketed as a female youth drama (at our screening, the studio rep requested opinions specifically from the women in the audience), The Edge of Seventeen presents themes and lessons that are of equal importance to males and adults. These include the dangers of sexting, the silliness of believing you have to choose between two friends and the oft observed problem of single parents behaving like teenagers. In fact, if there’s a core message to this film, it is the need for parents to parent, rather than trying to be their children’s buddy. This is particularly evident as we observe Mona’s implied approval of having Krista regularly sleeping over in Darian’s bed. The teen sexual behavior, along with other scenes involving detailed sexual discussions, and frequent profanities (including about a dozen sexual expletives), may leave some parents convinced there is too much edge in this movie. Still, for families reeling from loss or other traumatic events, the script may provide emotional depictions that ring with sincerity.Click here to read the full review
“Edge of Seventeen,” written and directed by Kelly Fremon Craig, captures the intensity and chaos and drama drama drama of this age, with Hailee Steinfeld as Nadine, who, like many 17-year-olds, is certain that she is the only person on earth who truly understands what it is to suffer. She actually has experienced a terrible loss, the death of her father, which has left her remaining family fragile. Her older brother Darian (Blake Jenner of “Everybody Wants Some!!”) compensates by being perfect in every disgusting way possible, from Nadine’s perspective. He is handsome, talented, athletic, and popular. That leaves nothing left for her but to be awkward and miserable. The film itself has that same perceptive sympathy for the agonies of adulthood, allowing us to laugh at Nadine only because we know she’ll be fine — she’s going to grow up and make this movie. Parents should know that this movie has very explicit and crude language, sexual references, and non-explicit sexual situations, a car accident with a sad (offscreen) death of a parent), and teen drinking.Click here to read the full review