Art and Experience: “The Edge of Seventeen” is a new coming-of-age dramedy that channels John Hughes’ films such as “The Breakfast Club” and “Sixteen Candles.” The film stars Hailee Steinfeld as Nadine, a high-school teen whose life gets even more unbearable when her best friend, Krista, starts dating her older brother. Directed by Kelly Fremon Craig, the picture premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival and has so far charmed critics.
IndieWire’s David Ehrlich’s gave the film an A-, calling the it an “instant high school movie classic.”
“‘The Edge of Seventeen’ isn’t just a welcome relief, it’s a genuine lifesaver. Pick a god, any god, and thank them for this movie. More directly, thank Kelly Fremon Craig, whose directorial debut confronts millennial teens with the same authenticity and verve that helped ‘Fast Times at Ridgemont High’ jumpstart a revolution when it crash-landed into the ’80s.”
READ MORE: ‘The Edge Of Seventeen’ Is An Instant High School Movie Classic — TIFF Review
Owen Gleiberman of Variety praised Steinfeld’s performance:
“Hailee Steinfeld has gathered confidence as a performer, and ‘The Edge of Seventeen’ is her breakthrough. She’s a fantastic actress, with a sharpness and verve that belies the catlike softness of her features. She’s like the young Elizabeth Taylor, with playful flexing eyebrows that italicize her every thought. Even when she’s just tossing off lines, Steinfeld makes Nadine a hellion you can’t tear yourself away from. She isn’t just the star of ‘The Edge of Seventeen’ — she’s its center of gravity.”
The Hollywood Reporter’s Jon Frosch called the comedy a “warm, winning teen-com.”
“Fast, full-hearted and graced with a beautifully modulated lead turn by Hailee Steinfeld, the movie takes the risk of playing it straight and sincere — and the risk pays off. …In her juiciest role since the Coen brothers’ ‘True Grit’ (her Juliet in 2013’s ‘Romeo and Juliet’ is better forgotten), Steinfeld is alive to Nadine’s rapidly swinging moods and shifting allegiances, but also to her essential goodness.”
READ MORE: ‘The Edge of Seventeen’ Resurrects the Teen Comedy: How Filmmaker Kelly Fremon Craig Pulled It Off — Toronto
On the other hand, The Wrap’s Steve Pond thought Harrelson stole the show:
“Woody Harrelson isn’t the only reason to see Kelly Fremon Craig’s coming-of-age film…But he’s probably the best reason – and he’s badly needed to keep the film on track until its lead character turns into the kind of person we can stand to be around.”
Tim Grierson of ScreenDaily added:
“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… Steinfeld conveys the same confidence and poise that was apparent when she first came to audiences’ attention with ‘True Grit.’”
STX Entertainment will release “The Edge of Seventeen” in theaters on November 18.