18 November 2016 | ThomasDrufke
Fresh, Endearing, and Funny
I can't say that I expected to see this movie opening weekend, or at all for that matter. But I'm glad I did. The Edge of Seventeen is an awkwardly charming coming of age tale that flirts in the same vein as some classic John Hughes 80's flicks.
I think all of us have been keeping an eye on Hailee Steinfeld since True Grit in 2010. When you can steal scenery from the likes of Jeff Bridges, Matt Damon, and Josh Brolin, you know you have someone special. The Edge of Seventeen is an entirely different genre and obstacle for Steinfeld, however. I almost think that the coming-of- age-teenage-angst-comedy-drama's are the most difficult films to reach a broad audience, perhaps even more so than westerns. I usually need something to hook me before I spend money on one of these, and that came by way of Woody Harrelson.
Harrelson play's Steinfeld's teacher and common companion at lunch when there's no one else to sit with. The brilliant thing about this relationship is that its neither too dramatic nor too goofy, the writers find a nice balance between gut busting laughs on Harrelson's end to a nice dramatic payoff in the latter half. For all the clichés that this film inevitably has, this relationship was something very refreshing and served as the highlights for most of the film.
Nadine (Steinfeld) has several issues with her mother, brother, and best friend to figure out throughout the course of the film. But it was pleasing to see that the writers didn't choose to make any one character in the right or wrong. I constantly felt like I was playing out both sides in my head as to who I believe had the right to be mad at the other or vice versa. Being in a family of 7, I can definitely relate to some of the family obstacles Nadine goes through, and it wasn't Hollywoodized just for the sake of pushing the plot forward. There's unfortunately quite a few clichéd tropes that this film ends up taking you toward, but it felt more natural than most of these types of films. This could be attributed to the welcomed R rating the film received.
It isn't for everyone, and I wouldn't even consider myself the target audience. But it speaks to larger personal and family issues than the trailer sets up. It's also one of the best Woody Harrelson performances I've seen recently, even if he is probably as reserved as he's ever been.
+Steinfeld carries this film
+With the help of the hilarious Harrelson
-Inevitably some clichés and predictable plot points