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The Edge of Seventeen torques expectations of teen movies

Hailee Steinfeld stars in The Edge of Seventeen.

Courtesy of STX Entertainment

3 out of 4 stars

The Edge of Seventeen
Written by
Kelly Fremon Craig
Directed by
Kelly Fremon Craig
Hailee Steinfeld, Blake Jenner and Woody Harrelson

If hell is other people, then high school is a four-year journey through all nine levels of Dante-ish misery. But while most teen-centric films skip over this harsh reality, The Edge of Seventeen embraces it with a refreshing zeal.

The directorial debut of Kelly Fremon Craig follows the unbearable life of Nadine (Hailee Steinfeld), an awkward junior who finds herself at odds with friends (well, her only friend), family (her golden-boy older brother) and faculty (Woody Harrelson's deadpan history teacher). While the material seems like standard-issue genre fare, Craig torques expectations by centring her film around a complex, uniquely unsympathetic heroine.

Best of all, Steinfeld attacks the role with a sly ferocity and a fearless streak of self-deprecation – you either know a Nadine, or you are Nadine. The film only runs into trouble toward the end, when Craig succumbs to the feel-good tropes she had so deftly avoided.

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About the Author

Barry Hertz is the deputy arts editor and film editor for The Globe and Mail. He previously served as the Executive Producer of Features for the National Post, and was a manager and writer at Maclean’s before that. His arts and culture writing has also been featured in several publications, including Reader’s Digest and NOW Magazine. More


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