Jul 25, 2019
It’s a special episode here at One Movie Punch as One Movie
Spouse and I are celebrating eighteen years of nearly perfect
marital bliss. Amy’s constant encouragement and flexibility
helped make launching this podcast possible, and now with her
semi-regular reviews, helps make this show what it is today. Thank
you so much everything, for the podcast and the past eighteen
We have a special joint review for today’s film, but it won’t be the first time we’ve co-authored a review. Hearken back to our first joint review for “Captain Marvel” (Episode #435), where Amy saves the podcast from being taken over by Skrulls.
And in the spirit of today’s film, be sure to check out reviews for “Lady Bird” (Episode #161), our recent re-run of “Eighth Grade” (Episode #539), and our review earlier this year for “Booksmart” (Episode #504). All three are absolutely excellent and followed in the footsteps of today’s film.
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Here we go!
JOSEPH: Today’s movie is “The Edge Of Seventeen”, the coming-of-age dramedy written and directed by Kelly Fremon Craig. The film follows Nadine (Hailee Steinfeld), a high school student whose life begins falling apart when her best friend Krista (Haley Lu Richardson) begins dating her older brother Darian (Blake Jenner). Heartfelt and hilarious feelings follow.
JOSEPH: Last year, I reviewed “The Breakfast Club” (Episode #257), while looking for a classic film still available on streaming services. One of my major points in the review was how well John Hughes captured white suburban high school life in stereotypical characters on the screen, and by doing so, influenced the same stereotypes within the same demographic for decades to come. The success of the film, and the rest of the Hughes catalog, would also influence coming of age filmmaking as well, a genre made easier to produce, but deceptively difficult to pull off effectively. Which is what makes “The Edge of Seventeen” such a treat.
AMY: “The Edge of Seventeen” is an excellent coming of age story! I am so pleased when I can see a coming-of-age story that doesn’t feel trapped by clichés and stereotypes. This film, along with “Lady Bird”, “Eighth Grade”, and “Booksmart”, represent a series of films that focus on the suburban female adolescent experience. And rather than give stereotypes to fit, each role provides an opportunity for young women to see themselves reflected while maintaining their own sense of identity. Also, I can’t believe “The Breakfast Club” is now a classic!
JOSEPH: I know, right?
AMY: “The Edge of Seventeen” is filled with self-discovery, friendship, drama, crushes, and heartbreak. Kelly Fremon Craig’s script is well written, delivering a very realistic glimpse of teenage life with all its ups and downs, and never compromising on the dialogue, especially when it comes to sexual matters. While following Nadine navigating what seems like the worst two weeks of her life, we get a glimpse into the contemporary social politics of sex and relationships. We also get a glimpse of the timeless quests of adolescents finding their identity, often by rejecting what’s around them. Steinfeld does amazing work with the character. It would earn her a Best Actress in a Musical or Comedy nomination at the 2017 Golden Globes.
JOSEPH: Nadine is surrounded by a mostly great supporting cast. Haley Lu Richardson plays a mostly background role as Krista, once the initial conflict is set. Hayden Szeto plays slightly nerdy film student and hopeful suitor Erwin, who Nadine has placed firmly in the friendzone, despite understanding his intentions and leaning on him when she needs help. Kyra Sedgwick plays Nadine’s mother, and plays her best when interacting with Blake Jenner as Nadine’s brother, especially one climactic scene about two-thirds in, although otherwise they are probably the weakest support in the film. Jenner was particularly flat and disappointing.
JOSEPH: The strongest supporting performance, however, was Woody Harrelson as Mr. Bruner. His portrayal as a wry teacher with a soft spot for Nadine is perfect, transforming hilarious dialogue into comedy through deadpan delivery. While it can be initially off-putting, his character perfectly captures any adult who works extensively with teenagers, and in a very meaningful way, serves as a father figure for Nadine, filling the void left by her father’s death, and allowing Nadine’s mother Mona to effectively play the flawed, but well-meaning parent. It should have earned him at least a Best Supporting Actor nomination, although the competition in 2017 was pretty tough.
AMY: Speaking of Nadine’s father, another rough point for the film was how underdeveloped this part of the story felt in relation to the rest of the story. While obviously a huge part of developing Nadine’s character, it only seems to resurface in order to move along the family part of the drama. I’m not sure how it could have been done better, but it was something I noticed.
JOSEPH: Before we wrap up, this film also reminded me of last year’s “The Kissing Booth” (Episode #132), except they switched out Nadine for Lee, and told the story from Krista/Shelly’s perspective about the “forbidden fruit” of your friend’s relatives.
AMY: I thought that movie was cute. Did you know they’re making a sequel?
JOSEPH: I can see it now – The Kissing Booth 2: Mononucleosis.
AMY: “The Edge Of Seventeen” is an excellent coming of age story, based on a great script with excellent dialogue, that explores the modern female suburban adolescent, whose success and style paved the way for many other features in the same blossoming genre. Teens will find the story relatable. Parents will find the story insightful and perhaps leaving them nostalgic. Everyone should find it hilarious.
Rotten Tomatoes: 94% (CERTIFIED FRESH)
One Movie Punch: 9.5/10
“The Edge Of Seventeen” (2016) is rated R and is currently playing on Netflix and VUDU.