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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.
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
Some of the best comedies distinguish the touching hysterical irony of
life's joy and tragedy, and celebrate the very best in people in life's
paradox. "The Edge of Seventeen" is that and much more. First time
Director and Writer Kelly Fremon Craig masterfully navigates that fine
line between cleverer than thou, and the reckoning of one's self. Craig
captures the natural speak of high school kids without some of the
pretense of "Juno". "The Edge of Seventeen" makes you burst out loud
with laughter, and touches your heart. Hailee Steinfeld makes this all
possible. What a revelation. I remember Hailee from the Coen Brothers'
"True Grit" phenomenal. Here she is a star. Steinfeld's performance is
funny, vulnerable, and fearless. Hers is one the year's best as well.
"The Edge of Seventeen" begins somewhere in the middle of the story. Steinfeld's teen drama queen supreme Nadine interrupts her favorite teacher Mr. Brunner played by Woody Harrelson, "I'm gonna kill myself " After a deadpan stare, Mr. Brunner reads Nadine his own drafted suicide note. Too funny. Steinfeld artfully invents Nadine as worthy of love, even when she says the vilest things. She tells literally her only friend in the world Krista (big hearted Hailey Lu Richardson) to choose between her and Nadine's brother Darian (dashing and surprising Blake Jenner). On the ferris wheel ride with Korean American Erwin (good-looking and whimsical Hayden Szeto), the charming animation nerd who is so in love with Nadine, she spews out a comical stereotype rift about of his parents. Then she admits, "All of it was racist." Craig and Steinfeld compassionately walk that fine line with inspired humor.
At a defining story arc, following a drunken indulgence Nadine weeps to Krista, "I've got to spent the rest of my life...with myself." This is heartbreaking. Her self-loathing is visceral and sad. Growing up in her eyes, older brother Darian was her parents' favorite. Not at all his fault. She constantly clashed with her Mom Mona (Kyra Sedgwick), who just did not 'get her'. Fortunately, her Dad Tom (patient and kind Eric Cooper) was not so much the buffer between Nadine and her Mom, rather the only one who could calm the fear deep in Nadine. As Nadine narrates everything tragically altered when she was 13 years old. She was with her Dad when he unexpectedly passed way.
Now 17 years old Nadine is a junior in high school and in seemingly self imposed exile with her only friend Krista (Richardson). Darian (Jenner) is the high school teenage godhandsome, smart, popular, and captain of the football team. Mona (Sedgwick) is the overwhelmed single Mom, venturing in the perils of on-line dating, and grateful for raising her perfect son. Nadine yearns for "hot" mysterious loner Nick (Alexander Calvert), who works at the local Pet Land. She indifferently dismisses Erwin (Szeto), who wears the crush for her on his sleeve. History teacher Mr. Brunner (Harrelson) is Nadine's only adult confidant and caustic reality check.
Hailee Steinfeld is radiant, pretty, and killer smart as Nadine. She wears the uniform skirt and cool shoes as eclectic couture. Outwardly, she would not occur as social pariah. Steinfeld naturally realizes her social outcast with Nadine's merciless words and her tragic refusal to love herself. All are armor to cover the hurt buried within her.
Waking up from a hangover, Nadine catches Krista 'handling' Darian in a bedroom tryst. Nadine reacts like Nadine, and life spirals out of control. She loses her only friend. Her desired rendezvous materializes and is nearly costlystrikingly and gently envisioned by Craig and Steinfeld. On the bright side she begins to see the wonderful guy in Erwin. Now if she could only just 'shut up' long enough. Nadine's words have a mind of their own: both a curse and an expression of her miraculous being.
Director and Writer Craig eloquently has Nadine's back. Darian and Krista might have been revealed as selfish jerks. Instead Jenner and Richardson only have unconditional love for Nadine. Jenner is impressively strong in the scene with his Mom. He reminds that though she is the only adult in the house, she calls him when there is trouble. The theater was silent as he and Nadine say, "Good night." Sedgwick's vulnerability strengthens the desperation and spirit of their Mom. Szeto is disarmingly brave and humorously clumsy as Erwin, who really sees Nadine's beautiful soul. Harrelson is subtle comic genius, and anchors "The Edge of Seventeen". As Mr. Brunner, we like Nadine underestimate him. Harrelson's hysterical cynicism masks the most generous soul. He sees the possibility of greatness in Nadine, even though she can't, yet.
"The Edge of Seventeen" is a wonderful surprise. Hailee Steinfeld is witty and boldly human as Nadine reluctantly emerges as the hero in her own story. Her performance is raw we feel her agony, fear, and joy. We pull for her Nadine to love thine own self. Above all Nadine deserves to love and be loved. We can all see the possibility of this for ourselves as well. "The Edge of Seventeen" is one of the best movies of the year. Thank you, Hailee and Kelly. You've done great.
As a fan of the "coming of age" story structure, I am happy to report that this film met my expectations in every single way. Some key plot points were predictable, but the writing, performances and soundtrack were all on point. The emotions and experiences the film conveys do not feel artificial, and Hailee Steinfeld shines! Intelligent writing and little twists here and there will likely leave you genuinely invested in the life of these characters and leave you wanting more. Woody Harrelson plays a wonderful image of a teacher dealing with his life amidst high school drama and Kyra Sedgwick's performance as a struggling mother was especially heart felt and real. This is not to be missed for fans of this genre!
John Hughes is an unmistakable touchstone of the coming of age 1980s high school dramedy. Films like Sixteen Candles, The Breakfast Club, Pretty in Pink and Ferris Bueller's Day Off chronicled the adolescent experience of growing up, dealing with teen angst and self-actualization while mixing in a dash of old fashioned screwball comedy which at once provides relatable laughter for the viewer while making the dramatic pills easier to swallow. All of those undeniably come to mind when watching the directorial debut of Post Grad screenwriter Kelly Fremon Craig, The Edge of Seventeen, a coming of age high school comedy about a socially awkward and unhappy teenage girl named Nadine (Hailee Steinfeld from True Grit) whose best friend enters a relationship with her hunky older brother (Blake Jenner from Everybody Wants Some). And yet it is Amy Heckerling's Fast Times at Ridgemont High that The Edge of Seventeen finds its closest antecedent in, providing at once a funny and sympathetic rom com and a decidedly darker, more explicit look at budding female sexuality in a world adorned with dumb horny males who care nothing for the heroine's plight and emotional crossroads. At times its unbearable watching Nadine suffer while at the same time the film doesn't deny her own complicitness in the creation of her teenage misery. At first on the outset this looked like another Juno/Ghost World lovechild but as it progressed I was surprised how funny, charming, touching and well thought out this portrait of adolescent fear, anxiety and depression really was. Sure we've seen this movie done to death, but The Edge of Seventeen provided a fresh spin on the proceedings that kept it from blending together with what came before it.
I just saw an early screening of the movie at a local Cinemark in
Texas. It was really good! Had a very unique and fresh feel to it.
Hailee Steinfeld did a fantastic job selling the role and coming across naturally as a seventeen year old trying to figure out life. She has a natural talent for comedic timing and she was just downright enjoyable to watch in this movie as her character Nadine. While being a immature teenager with next-to-no friends who feels like she has the worst life ever, she surprisingly has a lot of depth.
Most of her conflicts she causes herself due to her stubborn and self-loathing personality. These things along with her insecure personality make for a realistic approach to a seventeen year old constantly desiring to fit in but not possessing the social abilities to do so. She is not the most likable person but as the movie progresses she slowly starts becoming more tolerable.
Other conflicts relate to her brother Darian (Blake Jenner) who she is envious and resentful of, best friend Krista (Haley Lu Richardson), and occasionally her mother (Kyra Sedgwick) as well. The cast great job overall and I would have to say there wasn't really any performance from this cast I did not enjoy watching.
I already mentioned that Hailee nailed her role, but it was Woody Harrelson as Nadine's teacher Mr. Bruner that completely shined in every scene he was in. I could have watched Nadine and Mr. Bruner in a classroom for the entire movie, because their comedic chemistry was such a pleasure to watch. Mr. Bruner is a cynical school teacher that is constantly being bombarded by Nadine with the drama and troubles she goes through on a frequent basis. The scenes with his character always had the theater laughing and he added a great touch to this film as her teacher.
There were only a couple of issues I had. While Nadine was an very enjoyable character to watch, it was sometimes hard to believe her situation being as bad as it was. Being played by Hailee Steinfeld, she is not exactly unattractive even without make-up. One scene when she dresses up in the movie she is downright stunning, which makes me wonder why she didn't just dress this way all the time? That is instead of complaining about how much she hated her face, voice, etc. They did a good job attempting to dress her in a way that she would not appear as attractive, but you can only do so much as Hailee is naturally attractive and this made her troubles at times unbelievable.
There would be several scenes in the movie where she would be unable to relate or socialize with others, such as at a party. She would state on several occasions that she hated how insecure she was and hated several of her characteristics, but then scenes later had no issue going swimming alone with a boy for several hours and not appearing socially awkward in the least. These inconsistencies made it a bit hard to narrow down her personality but it did not take away from the entertainment value of the movie.
Overall I really enjoyed the movie and believe it was very well done. Nothing too serious but definitely a breath of fresh air in this type of genre.
"The Edge of Seventeen" (2016 release; 104 min.) brings the story of
Nadine, a 17 yr. old junior at Lakewood HS. As the movie opens, Nadine
is racing the school's hallways to meet with her favorite teacher and
tell him "I'm going to kill myself!" The movie then goes back in time
to see how we get to this point. After a short look at "Nadine, Age 7"
and "Nadine, age 13", where we learn how socially awkward things are
for Nadine, but for her strong friendship with her BFF Krista. That
brings us to "Nadine, 17". At this point we're less than 15 min. into
the movie, but to tell you more of the plot would spoil your viewing
experience, you'll just have to see for yourself how it all plays out.
Couple of comments: this movie is the directing debut for writer Kelly Fremon Craig (who wrote 2009's "Post Grad"). Here, Craig takes another shot at bringing the social awkwardness of being in high school and trying to survive all of the pressures that come with it. When was the last time that I've seen such an awkward teenager, who blurts out "I'm seeing myself and I can't stand it. I gotta spend the rest of my life with myself!". So nothing original here as such, except of course that Nadine is played by none other than Hailee Steinfeld, yes the little girl who was nominated of an Oscar in 2010 for "True Grit" is now grown up into a wonderful young lady which bunches of acting talent. Steinfeld basically carries the movie on her back, and is in virtually every single scene. There is some terrific support from Kyra Sedwick as Nadine's mom and Woody Harrelson as Nadine's teacher, but believe me when I say this is all about Hailee Steinfeld. Last but not least, the movie has a TON of great songs in it (check out the soundtrack).
"The Edge of Seventeen" opened nationally this past weekend. The Sunday early evening screening where I saw this at was attended okay but not great (about 10 people in the entire theater). This movie has not gotten a big marketing push, and it remains to be seen whether it will benefit from strong word-of-mouth. I quite enjoyed it for what it was, a strong vehicle for leading actress Hailee Steinfeld, even if the territory she explores here has been done before and doesn't offer all that much new. If you get a chance to check it out, be it in the theater, on VOD, or eventually on DVD/Blu-ray, I'd suggest you do and draw your own conclusion.
Kelly Fremon Craig wrote and directed the 2016 coming-of-age story, The
Edge of Seventeen. Starring Hailee Steinfeld, Haley Lu Richardson, and
Woody Harrelson, The Edge of Seventeen tells the ever so familiar tale
of navigating high school and the awkward teenage years just as your
world begins to fall apart. Kelly Fremon Craig follows the formula of a
coming-of-age story while still managing to tug at the heartstrings of
the audience and keep us engaged through the final scene. Brilliantly
written with a wonderful cast, The Edge of Seventeen is sure to gain
attention this Oscar season.
Nadine (Hailee Steinfeld) has always been, a little different. There was a time in her life in which she felt like such an outcast, she refused to get out of the car and enter school. Everything changed when she met Krista (Haley Lu Richardson) Finally, Nadine had a friend and felt like she belonged with someone. Nadine and Krista were attached at the hip, navigating life's challenges and the unique difficulties of their lives. Nadine has always felt overshadowed by her older brother Darian (Blake Jenner) who seems to never have a challenge with any aspect of his life. Nadine never felt worse about her brother than when he began dating Krista. The union between Krista and Darian was too much for Nadine to bear, and she drew a line in the sand presenting Krista with the ultimatum of choosing between Nadine and her brother. When Krista refused to answer, Nadine abandoned their friendship forging through life and high school and every awkward situation that comes with it friendless and alone, with the exception of her favorite teacher, Mr. Bruner (Woody Harrelson).
Kelly Fremon Craig crafted a brilliant script, reminiscent of Diablo Cody, with a perfectly conversational tone and wonderfully engaging pop culture references. The most brilliant aspect of the script was that each character was fully developed. It is so rare, especially in a coming-of-age story to have each character so beautifully fleshed out so the audience can understand the film from each perspective. The Edge of Seventeen, especially, was dependent upon being able to see the perspective of each character, as Nadine was often criticized for being self-centered in her belief that she was the only one experiencing problems in regards to the change in her family. The edge of Seventeen was an incredibly relatable story, which is the driving force of a coming-of-age tale; this inherent relatability is in no small part aided by the wonderful acting of the film's lead. Hailee Steinfeld played a perfect lead and was scene stealing and captivating every moment she was on-screen. Kelly Fremon Craig also makes some brilliant directorial choices to allow the audience to see their own similarities to the tale. The fact that the principles attend Lakewood High School reminds me of a line from A Nightmare on Elm Street, "In every town, there's an Elm Street. My hometown in Colorado has a Lakewood High School, and I'm sure, most towns in the U.S. do, as well. The most striking stroke of relatability is the illustration that we are all struggling through our own unique journey, and there is no one among us to save us. Many teenagers believe that when they are an adult they will have all the answers and won't have to struggle through life so much, only to find out that it is only the circumstances with which one struggles with that changes. There is no rule book for understanding given once one becomes an adult, and there are never any easy answers no matter how old we become, the best we can do is find someone that makes the struggle worth it, and navigate life together.
The Edge of Seventeen was a bit formulaic and predictable in parts, but that is easily forgiven, considering it is a coming-of-age film. The script and cast avoid the predictable hole the film avoided. Whether you were a Darian, who on the surface never met a struggle, or whether you were a Nadine, a self-described "old soul" who always felt out of place in your generation and missed out on the "beer pong ice breakers", there is something in The Age of Seventeen for everyone.
The Edge of Seventeen, I am pleased to say is a little film that came out of nowhere and not only did it far exceed all my expectations, but it turns out as of now to be one of my favourite films of 2016, if not my favourite film of the year and yes, it is that good. Within the first little while of the film I really was not expecting much as this seemed like another version of 2007's Juno, where you have a highly educated and yet very socially awkward teenager who has a very large vocabulary and speaks probably different than the grammar and language skills that most teenagers at that age possess. Unless of course you happen to be Ellen Page in the film Juno, which for the first while of the film I felt this could be a more adult oriented brother, or sister film to, which I was really hoping it was not. Nothing wrong with the film Juno per se, but I have already seen that before and was hoping not for an exact carbon copy of it. Thankfully as I gave the film time, it really ended up surprising me and I would say it is just as good as Juno, or as my initial reaction was that this film may even surpass that. This is a film that conveys beautifully and by beautifully I mean it is so true and honest about what an awkward and sometimes absolutely loathsome time both high school and one's teenage years could be. The film shows our main character Nadine, who is here played by Hailee Steinfeld, who I have not seen in anything since the Coen Brothers' 2010 remake of True Grit, but here she delivers what I think is so far my favourite female performance of 2016 in a role that is not just a cookie cutter outline of what we think teenagers in movies are supposed to act and behave like, but this film and Steinfeld's performance goes much deeper than that. The film truly shows that as teenagers we have a lot of growing that we do and not just in size and shape with our bodies. One's adolescent years often accompany many different changes in our lives from things going on in our own families, to things with friends inside and out of school and I am sure that some teenagers have home lives that are even more volatile and dysfunctional than anything that we can dream up for a movie and even getting out of bed for them in the morning to face a new day can be that challenging. Nadine, has had several setbacks, or difficult situations that have all occurred within a very short period of time. Most of these as with most changes in life, have nothing to do with any fault, or blame on her behalf, but still dealing with these things proves to be more than difficult for her. Because of this, Nadine chooses to lash out at the world and has in general a very negative and pessimistic outlook on life. We see her make so many bad and regretful decisions simply because she is unhappy and looking for any and everything to fill that emptiness and void in her life which she thinks she can fill by being rebellious and her own boss, but it will ultimately lead her to more trouble until what she needs is a good wake up call and some decent people who actually care for her, to step in and show her that people do actually care about her and that she has more than enough potential and so many wonderful qualities about her, if she would only let people see them. Steinfeld's performance can be extremely humorous at times because of Nadine's neurotic whims and quirks, but we also see her pain and suffering and her anger at the world which is portrayed here with so much emotion and depth that it is as I said this year's best female performance so far and hopefully one that is not ignored come awards time. Equally good here in a much different role is Woody Harrelson, as a teacher who becomes a pal and almost one to confide in for Nadine, who is more empathetic and caring to her needs than what he lets on. It is a humorous performance, but one played so well that at times it also shows a beautiful side to it of caring and just being the kind of great teacher that we all so badly deserve in high school. The Edge of Seventeen has wonderful teenage characters and it's depiction of not only them, but also of the parents and adults in this film is so spot on and accurate that it has not been this perceptive, or good probably since Todd Solondz's film Welcome to the Dollhouse, which is another great and accurate film of the pains of high school. This film has wisdom beyond what it shows and is a great showcase for this up and coming director and is a film that teenagers will not only relate to as well as adults and anyone who has even been in high school for a little while. One of the most intelligent and astute films in awhile and also so far this year's best.
If you're on the outside, in a strange way it may be preferable in
certain ways than being the "perfect" child. I know this from
experience - being a teenager sucked, and felt very much alone and
alienated and without many (if any) friends, and feeling like everyone
around was full of crap and not worth paying attention to - that there
is this ironic thing that being someone like Nadine in this story is
that it makes that person feel special. This is a revelation that comes
late in the movie, but it's something that should've been seen for so
long: you now, Nadine, the 'perfect' ones are pretty damn miserable
too. Know that and see that. That's a message enough.
The other problem for teenagers, which I think a lot of people (myself included) can relate to, is that sense of low self esteem. All the time, always, pervasive, even if life is, when looking from outside, not too bad. Nadine has a good friend, Krista, who she's been close with since she was a little kid, and she has a loving mother (though a little too, what's the word, not relatable or able to connect with or aw hell mothers and daughters at that age never get along for like two years), and also a perfect brother... and then the conflict comes when, outside of anything Nadine does, Krista and Darian (Blake Jenner) become a serious couple. Oh, and Nadine's dad died when she was 13 so there's that on top of everything else.
The filmmaker Kelly Fremon Craig makes sure there's enough inner conflict so that when Nadine does go into what could be called a spiral of despair and depression, there is *some* context for it. I have to wonder if I would have liked the film as much or found enough to be sympathetic and/or even empathetic (yes, as a guy I can feel in her shoes, it's past gender and into how a worldview is at that age, of other people in general), if there hadn't been that past baggage, of having identity issues in a family, or lacking the father who was the one who loved her the most, if she was just, uh, another teenage girl with issues of identity and crushing on the cute unattainable boy (with that hair, the girls will say!) I think the power and brilliance of the script, and there is brilliance to it for the most part, is that Craig makes sure to have characters call Nadine on her problems, that she is surrounded by people who both care about her AND make sure to see through her poutier/more dramatic moments.
And there is a lot of drama here, a lot of it may be (or just is) Nadine's own making. The movie opens with the scene we've seen from the trailers where she tells Woody Harrelson's teacher character that she's going to kill herself (his response, in the ways of knowing, sympathetic but No-BS teachers who have clearly seen girls like Nadine before, has his own "suicide note" that he reads to her, undercutting her immediately), and it makes for something that is funny and poignant and incredibly clever; his response to her frantic sense of panic over sending the message asking the cute-boy to do things to her (and her to him) in the Pet-Land backroom is the kind of witty line one might expect in a less-strict script from the 1940's. There's wit burning off the screen here.
These characters, for the most part here, are not dumb characters or stupid, or if they make the wrong decisions (Nadine most of all) it's out of not being able to control themselves emotionally. I do wish that Krista had been a little more in the film, or a little more developed. But it's not her story anyway; if anything this filmmaker knows that in other conventional stories, it might be her story and Darian. But Nadine is interesting *because* she is so messed up and we want to see her get better, or to connect more with the genuine nice guy (aka slightly "dorky" but in a way that should be attractive), and Craig may make her unlikable to some in the audience - those, maybe, that just see her as the "B" word that can't get her s*** together and smarten up (the only criticism I thought of was when she asked Erwin if he had a pool, and when he said yes and that she had one too I thought, 'huh, alright, that should be fine shouldn't it?')
I think the key to The Edge of Seventeen's success is that the script was one thing, and it is already a smart and perceptive script - dare I, oh, hell, I'll just say it, I like it more than something that is quirkier but still in the pocket of certain clichés like JUNO - but the actors have to make it come alive. Steinfeld is spectacular in making Nadine someone who you more than feel fore but can put your shoes into, of that insecurity matched with that "I hate all these other people" feeling, and that she makes her charming despite those moments when she does some terrible things to her family. Harrelson is the "wise old man" of the film (and he's BALD too, or, you know, sort of balding, that's the best Nadine can come up with as far as a put down), and Sedgwick is wonderful as the mother too, making someone who is seen one way to her daughter and to us another way as frustrated, flustered and still loving deep down.
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