Nadine (Hailee Steinfeld) is a socially awkward high schooler. Her mother, Mona (Kyra Sedgwick), is overbearing since her father died. She doesn’t have many friends. She has a crush on Nick (Alexander Calvert), a guy who probably doesn’t know she exists. And she lives in the shadow of her perfect, popular brother Darian (Blake Jenner). The only things that keep her going are her best friend, Krista (Haley Lu Richardson) and complaining about life to her teacher Mr. Bruner (Woody Harrelson).
Feeling betrayed by her best friend, Nadine feels alone. She turns to Erwin (Hayden Szeto), another classmate. She leans on him for support. Erwin invites Nadine to a local film festival where he is debuting a film he made. Erwin clearly likes Nadine, but she is hung up on Nick.
After a fight with her mother, Nadine takes off and writes a text to Nick telling him how she feels and what she wants to do to him. Not intending for anyone to ever see the text, she is mortified when she accidentally hits send. This being the last straw in her downward spiral, Nadine runs to Mr. Bruner to tell him she’s going to kill herself.
On the surface, The Edge of Seventeen is a typical coming of age movie. The way it is delivered, though, gives it depth, humor, and heart.
Hailee Steinfeld shows she can pull off the angsty teenager. She delivers her lines with conviction. It is the epitome of just about every high school kid. Playing off Woody Harrelson’s seemingly uncaring teacher, it makes for a great dynamic. Woody’s deadpan delivery of sarcasm is perfect. It’s biting enough to be funny and get his point across but stopping short of being cruel. Then he throws in some bits of sage advice and caring, making his character more than he seems.
As for the story, most of the story has been covered time and time again. It is how the story is told that makes it so enjoyable. It is a good mix of humor and experiences most people can relate to. Several of the funny scenes have been shown in the trailers, but there is more to the film than those few moments.
The Edge of Seventeen is a heart-felt story about a girl trying to survive high school. If you have children of that age, they will most likely enjoy it. There is enough to the film that adults will enjoy it too. If you’re looking for a movie you can watch with or without your kids, this is a good choice.