I’m a huge fan of the great high school comedy drama films of years gone by. John Hughes is obviously the great name in the genre, and is rightly still the high bar that new films are compared against. Sadly there have been fewer and fewer great examples being made recently. Enter writer and director Kelly Fremon Craig with The Edge of Seventeen.
The Edge of Seventeen starts Hailee Steinfeld as Nadine, a seventeen-year-old high school outsider with only one real friend, Krista (Haley Lu Richardson). That friendship starts to fall apart when she sleeps with her brother Darian (Blake Jenner). Feeling isolated from her generation, the only person she can really talk to is one of her teachers, Mr. Bruner (Woody Harrelson).
I’ve really missed films like this one, they don’t get made enough, and thankfully The Edge Of Seventeen doesn’t disappoint. The film lives and dies on Hailee Stanfield, and she is amazing. As the central character she really carries the whole film on her back, and for such as young actress, who we’ve only really seen in smaller role such as Pitch Perfect 2, to deliver such a charming, funny, and moving performance is extraordinary. Woody Harrelson is by far the funniest guy in the film, ever scene with him in the school is hysterical stuff.
But it’s not just great performances that make The Edge of Seventeen; the material that the actors are working with is brilliant. So often you hear about films being dubbed the voice of a generation, well Kelly Fremon Craig’s truly could be despite a focus on one outcast character. It’s a script that harks back to the ideas of The Breakfast Club, where everyone, no matter their social standing, is facing very similar problems at that young age. Following Nadine as she learns this could have been a bit of a struggle as she is a fairly self centered character for most of the film, but wit of the writing and the charm brought by Steinfeld make it so brilliant.
I’m a huge of this genre of film, and so that make me immediately amiable towards any good example of it. And in The Edge of Seventeen we have a great example of a modern high schools comedy drama. It’s a film with so much heart, plenty of laughs, and a performance by Steinfeld that is sure to be the making of her as a star. Definitely one of the highlights in comedy this year.