'The Edge of Seventeen' - Movie Review

Several other movies came to mind while watching this: "Me and Earl and the Dying Girl," "The DUFF," and "Paper Towns." They're all recent teen comedies and coming-of-age tales. If I had to tell you to go see one, I'd say "Me and Earl and the Dying Girl" without hesitation. If you asked for the best acting, that would be Hailee Steinfeld in this one: she's outstanding. But the movie itself didn't move me. It's not bad, but it didn't strike me as anything special.

Steinfeld plays Nadine Franklin, a neurotic, obnoxious, and intelligent student. Her father dies when she's 13, leaving her with a mother who doesn't understand her and a brother she can't get along with, and only one friend. She's known Krista (Haley Lu Richardson) since they were about six, and they're very close. But Krista begins a relationship with Nadine's brother (Blake Jenner), which causes Nadine to push Krista away and start acting even crazier than usual. If you've seen the trailers, you'll know that Woody Harrelson is in the movie: he plays the long-suffering (and not terribly hard-working) history teacher that she turns to when she's driven everyone else away.

Nadine is an intensely unlikeable person: she's not actively evil, but she can be explosively unpleasant. The miracle of Steinfeld's performance is that you can see that she's not evil, and sort of like her and hope that she gets out of the hole she's dug herself. Had it been any other actress, I don't think they could have pulled this off - particularly when you throw in a mid-sized serving of "humorous" humiliation, one of my least favourite things ... which she (and the script) somehow makes workable.

In the end it's too awkward and gawky, like its protagonist. And her epiphany is far too sudden and complete: Steinfeld's performance can't save that.