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Edge of Seventeen, The


Stars: Hailee Steinfeld, Woody Harrelson, Kyra Sedgwick, Hayden Szeto, Haley Lu Richardson, Blake Jenner, Alexander Calvert

Director: Kelly Fremon Craig

Teenage angst, 21st century style. 17-year-old Nadine (Steinfeld) has only one friend, hates her Adonis-like brother Darian (Jenner), school, her widowed mother (Sedgwick) and life in general.

She also has vivid memories of being a passenger in the car when her father (Eric Keenleyside), driving, had a heart attack and died.

When her friend Krista (Richardson, looking mature for her actual 21 years) is bedded by Darian and becomes his steady, the remains of Nadine's world fall apart and her neuroses and bitterness overwhelm her.

Although the film is quite entertaining and at times wittily written, I must admit I had issues with the central character. She's so awful, you're reluctant to root for a happy ending, but so puppy-dog attractive that it seems inconceivable she hasn't had loads of friends and/or admirers by now. And when she sends a lewd text to the school heartthrob (Calvert), describing how she'd like him to have sex with her, why is she so angry when he immediately dates her and tries to fulfil her requests?

OK, Nadine's her own worst enemy, but the character is chock-full of inconsistencies.

The best parts of the movie comes with the dry exchanges between Nadine and her laconic, laidback teacher (Harrelson, who revels in his well-scripted role), who takes her insults calmly and routs her with well-timed barbs in return. When she sleeps at her desk, he chides her 'Wake up! You had a brain operation. It made you pleasant and agreeable.'

I also liked Nadine's description of her first encounter with her (somewhat smaller) friend: 'She was dressed like a small elderly gentleman.' But, in the end, the film, as these projects do, succumbs to formula and a happy ending. How could it not?

David Quinlan

Canada/USA 2016. UK Distributor: entertainmentOne. Technicolor.
104 minutes. Not widescreen. UK certificate: 15.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 1, Violence/Horror 0, Drugs 0, Swearing 2.

Review date: 28 Nov 2016