As I'm sure you've already figured out from pevious articles, I love movies, and I like most of the movies I watch. Some, however, have a much larger impact on me than others. One of those lasting impact movies is the 2016 comedy The Edge of Seventeen.
The sharp, coming-of-age film follows Nadine (Hailee Steinfeld), whose world slowly collapses when her best friend Krista (Haley Lu Richardson) starts dating Nadine's brother, Darian (Blake Jenner). The movie starts with Nadine talking about how she was as a child, a loner, and quickly establishes her rocky relationship with her mother (Kyra Sedgwick). She meets Krista, and the two instantly become best friends. When Nadine is 13, she's out getting burgers and fries with her father, who dies of a heart attack shortly after. The story then flashes forward to the present day, 17-year-old Nadine.
Part of why I adore this film is because of the story. It's truthful, it's not overexaggerated, and Kelly Fremon Craig (writer/director) fills it with comedy perfectly fitting to the overall tone. Early in the movie, it's obvious Krista and Darian are going to end up together. Nadine's reaction, while from an outside perspective can be interpreted as an overreaction, makes perfect sense considering her relationship to both Krista and Darian. In her mind, it's a betrayal, and she responded accordingly. As Nadine goes through her week after this, watching everything unfold feels real, as though you're going through it with her.
The film's strongest quality, though, is its characters, who drive the story and create its relatability. The way they relate to one another and have different personalities and reactions to everything happening is amazing to me. You could see yourself in any of the characters. During a re-watch, it hit me why I appreciate the movie as much as I do: I can relate to these characters, especially Nadine. Krista is the sweet, caring friend who doesn't fully understand why she can't have both Darian and Nadine. Darian, her attractive, athletic brother, takes on the "man of the house" role. He diffuses (or tries to diffuse) tension between their mother--who struggles with bi-polar disorder, which I missed the first viewing--and Nadine. Two of my favorite characters in the ensemble (besides Nadine) are her history teacher (Woody Harrelson) and Erwin (Hayden Szeto), one of her classmates who has a crush on Nadine (a totally adorable one, I might add).
One of my favorite character relationships is between Nadine and her history teacher. Through a majority of the film, Nadine relies on him almost as a replacement friend for Krista, and (although slightly more of a stretch) a father figure. He doesn't really care about Nadine's problems, but nevertheless, he tolerates her going into his classroom, unannounced, during lunch. Near the end of the movie, Nadine ends up in a tough situation, and she calls him for help. He picks her up, takes her to his house, feeds her, and makes sure she gets home safe. His typically indifferent attitude shifts as she learns about a large part of his life.
The other relationship I love is the one between Erwin and Nadine. As Nadine's friendship with Krista crumbles, Nadine begins to rely more on her goofy and charming classmate. Erwin is a great character, and I view him as a grounding force for Nadine. He's awkward around her, but at the same time, his personality allows her to relax and know that she has someone else she can trust. What I admire about the two of them is that their friendship isn't thrown in your face as something you have to accept. It's progression is organic, making it all the more delightful.
Overall (and once more), nothing about the movie feels untruthful. From Nadine's borderline obsession with Nick Mossman (Alexander Calvert), a cute boy at school (don't let his looks deceive you), to her tumultuous relationship with Darian and her mother, there's always a moment that anyone watching can say "Yeah, I believe that actually happens." The message she accidentally sends to Nick is a great example. We've all been in a similar situation.
Regardless of who you are (age, gender, whatever), The Edge of Seventeen needs to be on your list of must-watch films. The story, the characters, and the comedy come together to create a fun, highly relatable film that everyone can (and should) appreciate. The next time you need something to watch, give The Edge of Seventeen a chance. You won't regret it.