SVEN: In The Edge of Seventeen, Hailee Steinfeld (True Grit remake) plays an emotional teenager whose relationship with her best/only friend sours when said friend begins to date her “perfect” older brother (Everybody Wants Some!!’s Blake Jenner).
If you want your movies bursting with energy, you’ll love Seventeen’s spirit. This thing reaches out and engage the audience within the first two minutes. Steinfeld delivers big time. She already arrived in True Grit, but if she hadn’t, this would easily constitute a star-making performance. She’s funny, charismatic, engaging, emotional, and perfect for the story. The rest of the teen actors perform admirably, and Woody Harrelson routinely steals scenes as Steinfeld’s favorite teacher.
I’d have to look back at my list before finalizing this claim, but if this movie isn’t the funniest of the year, it’s damn close. Essentially, it’s a teen comedy, but unlike other such movies, the stakes and action stay realistic throughout. This keeps the attention on the star, and she elevates the movie with aplomb. If you can find this in your neck of the woods, see it!
CHRIS: This is a fun little flick that hits the ground running, slows down to establish backstory (that maybe could have been shortened), and then accelerates through engaging plot points and developments until we reach a satisfying climax and overall conclusion. I’ve seen better indie films, probably even this year, but I still enjoyed this.
My biggest gripe would be that Hailee Steinfeld may have been miscast. While she handles her role fairly well and basically provides a deft performance, the pretty 20 year old is a poor choice to play an awkward, socially ostracized teen. Imagine if Bell Powley in “The Diary of a Teenage Girl” was replaced with Sarah Hyland. Of course, all of the teens in this movie look like they’re mid-20s fashion models. The geeky Asian kid who draws comics has abs that make Ryan Gosling look fat. Perhaps the casting director has been entrenched in Hollywood for too long and forgot what real people look like.
SVEN: I’ll go with you on the asian dude (who looked the part fine until he took his shirt off) but not Steinfeld. I think she was less socially ostracized than self-ostracized (the movie depicts her as possessing a confrontational moodiness from an early age). In high school, you can be angsty, antisocial, unpopular, and attractive at the same time. Heck, that basically describes 17 year-old me.