Edge of Seventeen is a brilliant portrayal of the pitfalls of being a teenager in the 21st century. The coming-of-age movie gives an accurate picture of high-school and will ensure that even the most emotionless of us feel strongly for Nadine.
To put it frankly: Nadine isn’t enjoying life. We get this impression right from the start as she tells her teacher she is planning to kill herself. Mr Bruner, played brilliantly by Woody Harrelson, replies with a response typical of the film’s humour; he too was planning on committing suicide because of the constant pain of being interrupted at lunch. This is both cringe-worthy to hear such a seemingly heartless approach to an obviously serious issue, but it works superbly and the relationship between Nadine and Mr Bruner is one that perhaps the film doesn’t explore enough.
Her relationship with her parents is also interesting. Her obvious differences with her mum shown from such a young age and how her father kept the family together. I won’t ruin it for you but that burden when passed on to her brother shows a different form of support, one Nadine is reluctant to accept.
The only thing getting Nadine through her life is her best friend, Krista. We learn she was an “angel” and helped her survive through the hardships of growing up. When Krista becomes romantically involved with her brother Nadine is outraged, can things can get any worse? When she loses Krista what will she have left?
Despite its serious themes the film is at times hilarious, with the occasional scene that will force a tear or two to your eye. The scenes are relatable, the sexual-urges that all teenagers feel yet still at a tender age to not yet feel comfortable around putting those into action, and the awkwardness of making new friends can apply to anyone who’s been a teenager. We’ve all crushed on someone out of our league; and we’ve all done something completely stupid to try impress them.
Erwin Kim is perhaps the best portrayed character of all. The adorably sweet, decent guy who gets ignored for the hotter badass. Every boy can feel for him in his quest to win over his girl. Hayden Szeto does a brilliant job playing Erwin and keeps us laughing in-between the serious bits.
Mental illness and depression is not uncommon with today’s teenagers and the film does a good job at showing the issue in the right way. The film teaches you to look at life through a slightly pessimistic viewpoint, but one that will always teach you to appreciate the good bits. Yes, there are other people in the world who feel like they’re also going through hell, “they’re just better at faking it” as Nadine’s mother puts it.
The film is motivational: perfect to put your own life into perspective. As Nadine proves, life can throw all sorts at you but the important thing is that you don’t give in and that if you keep going through hell you eventually come out better off. Don’t give in to teenage demons, you never know how they’ll change your life for the better.
Central Media Inc Head Reporter