Magazine article Screen International

'The Edge of Seventeen': Toronto Review

Magazine article Screen International

'The Edge of Seventeen': Toronto Review

Article excerpt

Dir/scr: Kelly Fremon Craig. US. 2016. 103mins

There's sweetness and a smidge of wisdom to be found in The Edge Of Seventeen, a likeable coming-of-age comedy-drama that's too generic to recommend but enjoyable enough to make you curious what its writer-director and stars will do next. The feature debut of filmmaker Kelly Fremon Craig chronicles the angst of its teen protagonist, who still feels rudderless four years after the death of her beloved father. Hailee Steinfeld finds some small grace notes amidst the typical plot points.

After closing the Toronto Film Festival, The Edge Of Seventeen is scheduled for a November 18 US release. This is Steinfeld's biggest starring vehicle since earning an Oscar nomination for 2010's True Grit, going on to amass an impressive résumé in a short time by appearing in the likes of Pitch Perfect 2 and Ender's Game. With an ensemble that includes Woody Harrelson and Kyra Sedgwick, The Edge Of Seventeen will serve as mild counterprogramming against higher-profile films such as Arrival and Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them, catering to older teens and young adults but unlikely to cross over to any other demographics.

Steinfeld plays Nadine, a 17-year-old who's never been popular, clinging to her long-time best friend Krista (Haley Lu Richardson) as an emotional life raft. But when Krista starts dating Nadine's super-popular older brother Darian (Blake Jenner), she feels like a third wheel - not to mention utterly adriftand alone.

Fremon Craig doesn't radically alter the conventions of the coming-of-age narrative, and so a general predictability settles over the proceedings pretty quickly. With that said, though, she does a good job observing the relationships between her central characters. Nadine resents her high-achieving brother, who has always been the apple of their mother's (Sedgwick) eye, but there's an added tension in the family due to the fact that no one has fully gotten over dad's death, his passing a lingering, unaddressed wound. …

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