The Edge of Seventeen (2016)

KELLY FREMON CRAIG

Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBB.  USA/, 2016.  , , .  Screenplay by .  Cinematography by .  Produced by , , .  Music by .  Production Design by .  Costume Design by .  Film Editing by .  Golden Globe Awards 2016.  Toronto International Film Festival 2016

The idea of one more movie about a teenager’s awkward coming of age is enough to make one’s head explode, which only make this wonderful film’s unique qualities so much more cherishable.   is superb as a young woman who has a difficult time relating to others, her situation made more challenging by her living under the weight of her brother’s much easier popularity.  Because she wears her frustrations on the outside, Steinfeld’s Nadine thinks she is the only person who has problems, not realizing the level of trauma placed on her entire family’s household by her father’s early death and her mother () having to look after everyone since.  When her best friend starts dating her brother, she takes it as a betrayal that pushes her to bounce her anger off of three different men: a fellow misfit student whose attraction to her doesn’t register, an aloof dreamboat who represents what she thinks she wants, and a sarcastic teacher ( doing his best work in years) who takes everything she throws at him with expert ease.  Directed with intelligent verve, this film fearlessly presents its character’s rough edges while also holding her responsible for them: Nadine learns to ease up on her rage by being forced to realize that just because she can’t other people’s challenges, it doesn’t mean they’re not there.  The film quite boldly blows things up in her face on a regular basis, and Steinfeld superbly navigates every one of Nadine’s mistakes without ever losing our sympathy.

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