By Molly Mitchell, ’20
With its own relatable twists, The Edge of Seventeen, released Nov. 17, is a hit comedy from writer and director Kelly Fremon Craig that adds to the bottomless collection of thought-provoking high school films. Craig mixes classic high school clichés–parties, romantic ferris wheel rides, and envious sibling rivalries–with humor to remind teenagers to laugh at their mistakes.
By bouncing off of the classics before her time, like John Hughes’ The Breakfast Club and Sixteen Candles, Craig develops a new, hip and different alternative to a great family of coming-of-age movies. The plot keeps viewers’ attention by stringing together hilariously honest references with valuable themes. Craig writes the movie to be relatable to anyone who has spent four years in the halls of a high school.
“There are two types of people in the world: The people who naturally excel in life and the people who hope all those people die in a big explosion. When I was 13, it was clear which side of the equation I was on.” -Nadine
Nadine, a self-proclaimed old soul portrayed by Hailee Steinfeld, works towards loving herself for whom she is despite the fact that “high school sucks.” With her casual, offhand attitude, Nadine accepts that sometimes your best friend falls in love with your arrogant brother. Every eye-roll and sarcastic sigh is perfected effortlessly by Steinfeld (the newbie Barden Bella in Pitch Perfect 2) who as a teenager herself, excels in the role.
Mr. Bruner, Nadine’s sarcastic teacher, is incredibly played by Woody Harrelson. Easily the most incredible character in the film, Mr. Bruner develops in the viewer’s eyes from a rude man to a selfless guy using Nadine’s conflict to transition. When first introduced to Mr. Bruner, he suggests that Nadine should kill herself using sarcastic humor to do so. Throughout the film he and Nadine have an unexpected bond as he gives her life-advice, ultimately changing her view of herself. Mr. Bruner tells Nadine, “Life’s about taking risks. Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there.” Craig creates this role to let viewers stay optimistic about their teachers like Mr. Bruner who come off rude and arrogant; they too might have humble homes and cute newborns.
The R-rated film, produced by James L. Brooks, is definitely a new classic to add to the movie shelf. It teaches that even the candid moments, the ones that you wish you can rewind and do over, are often the same moments that define how you see yourself.