Review: Heart, soul and brains in The Edge of Seventeen

Matt Adcock reviews The Edge of Seventeen (15), starring Hailee Steinfeld and Woody Harrelson
Hailee Steinfeld as Nadine and Haley Lu Richardson as KristaHailee Steinfeld as Nadine and Haley Lu Richardson as Krista
Hailee Steinfeld as Nadine and Haley Lu Richardson as Krista

Meet Nadine (Hailee ‘Enders Game’ Steinfeld), a super awkward teenager whose life is a cringe-em-up writ large on the big screen. Everything is wrong for this young lady – her specialist subject is making bad life choices unlike her much cooler brother Darian (Blake Jenner) who gets all the attention and love. So much love in fact that even Nadine’s best / only pal Krista (Haley Lu ‘Mortal Kombat X: Generations’ Richardson) falls for him. which leaves our heroine all alone in the world.

Mocked by her favourite teacher, the sarcastic Mr. Bruner (Woody ‘Triple 9’ Harrelson) – who delivers most of the best lines and some awesome laughs - Nadine’s only chance of salvation is shy fellow student Erwin (Hayden Szeto) who gives her a glimmer of hope that things just might not be quite so terrible after all.

Director Kelly Fremon Craig makes her debut with Edge of Seventeen and scores a direct hit with this heartbreaking coming-of-age comedy which is like a super charged modern day John Hughes film. The character of Nadine is a champion for awkward teens everywhere (and the inner teens of us all). There’s so much heart and just as much brains packed in to this pure joy of a movie.

Steinfeld is superb as nerdy Nadine who deals with having a crush on Nick (Alexander Calvert) – an older chap who she bumped into in the local pet store by stalking his social media. But the heart of the film is her relationship with Mr Bruner who, despite his off-handed way of dealing with her dramas, is actually there for her if she needs it. Nobody is perfect though – and when Nadine gets her heart mangled it falls to the outsider Erwin to offer a possible way to reengage with everyone around her.

If you enjoyed films like Juno or Mean Girls, this is necessary viewing - it’s the best big screen teenage angst for years. The Edge of Seventeen is just a great film which will make you laugh, cry and feel all the pain of being young and unsure of yourself again.