The Edge of Seventeen could quite possibly be the defining movie of the decade.
It’s intricate use of dialogue and an outstanding cast has elevated this film from a typical teen dramedy to something raw, realistic, and relatable. This isn’t a teen movie, this is simply a movie about a teen.
Hailee Steinfeld, who plays main character Nadine, has never been one to disappoint, getting an oscar nomination at the age of 14 in 2011 for her role in the Coen brother’s critically acclaimed flick True Grit.
When most actors try to display what teenagers feel on screen, it seems faked or carefully constructed; but, Steinfeld holds nothing back. She exemplifies her incredible talent as 17 year old Nadine, a socially awkward and rather angsty high school junior.
Nadine goes through what all teenagers go or have gone through: a rocky relationship with his/her parents, complicated friendships, heartbreak, loneliness, acts of rebellion and so forth.
Her portrayal shows Nadine as a cynical, sarcastic, or “edgy” teen trying to navigate her way through life when her best friend, Krista (Haley Lu Richardson), begins to date her jock-type older brother, Darian (Blake Jenner).
Nadine, who has dealt with loss as her father had died only a couple years before, feels heartbroken and betrayed.
We watch her as she tries to overcome crippling loneliness while also working out a stressful relationship with her fervent yet emotionally burdening mother. Her only outlet seems to be her teacher, Mr. Bruner (Woody Harrelson), whose satirical and brusque attitude matches Nadine’s.
Steinfeld’s performance and an exceptional script place The Edge of Seventeen on the shelves of teen classics such as Juno (2007) or Pretty in Pink (1986).
A movie that clearly portrays crude feelings, from accurate displays on blind self-destructiveness to the psychic scars of trauma and alienation, is not a movie that should be missed by anyone who has been a teenager.