Just when I thought that Sing Street was not going to be matched as the best coming-of-age movie of 2016, this comes along. The Edge of Seventeen is a warm teen comedy written and directed by newcomer Kelly Fremon Craig and starring a vibrant youthful cast.
The story revolves around 17-year-old Nadine (portrayed by Oscar and Golden Globe nominee Hailee Stanfield) who has found life growing up difficult compared to her ‘perfect’ brother Darian. Her situation improves slightly when she meets Krista (Haley Lu Richardson) who also doesn’t understand social norms too well. Together they form a tight knit bond. But when Krista and Darian start dating, things turn for the worst and Nadine’s world is turned upside down.
Now I know what you’re thinking, “this sounds soft and cheesy”. But let me explain… Of course a Kenyan audience may not necessarily relate to the teenage angst of an American girl, but, there are behaviors in teens that are universally similar. Common experiences that we all went through during these years of our lives.
What draws me to Nadine and the story as a whole is the psychological battle she goes through as a 17-year-old whose life is already unbearable following the death of her father. More so now after losing the one attachment that keeps her from completely losing it in Krista.
Now, Nadine tries to find other ways to cope with her depression and social anxiety which makes her vulnerable and susceptible to poor decision making. Progressively, each decision she makes is worse than the last.
All this unfolds in a comedic fashion, with well written dialogue and good acting. Some of my favourite scenes were those between Nadine and her history teacher Mr. Bruner (Woody Harrelson), who with no one else to talk, she finds herself spending most of her time with him. Situations that some of us did actually go through in high school.
One wouldn’t be too harsh when calling The Edge of Seventeen a predictable movie. And it does take a while to get invested in the story. However, it’s what fills the gaps between the beginning and end that makes this film enjoyable. Definitely worth seeing.