Movie Review: The Edge of Seventeen (2016)

img_5708There are three reasons to see Kelly Fremon Craig’s The Edge of Seventeen (C+): the continually wondrous Hailee Steinfeld doing her darnedest with the film’s frustrating and frumpy front-woman role, Woody Harrelson in an understated supporting part as her high school teacher and part-time consigliere to her darkest impulses and newcomer Hayden Szeto as her awkward admirer. Much of the film’s content feels like a ho-hum homage to Sixteen Candles minus most of the comedy; in the pantheon of cinema, however, Edge does correct a blemish of Sixteen by casting Asian-American actor Szeto as an attractive and full-developed love interest. Steinfeld’s character’s central conflict involves her brother (Blake Jenner, playing his usual milquetoast Golden boy) starting to date her one best friend (an amenable Haley Lu Richardson). Most of the movie feels like a series of unfortunate first-world problems for a central character who purports to be an old soul. Her disdain for fellow millennials just seems like an excuse for the screenwriter to write wittier zingers for her character than her classmates. Compared to John Hughes classics or even turn-of-the-millennium high school comedies such as Clueless, Ghost World or Mean Girls, this entry just doesn’t deliver many revelations or comedy gems. Steinfeld gives it all’s she’s got, but she’s filling awkward shoes.

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I've reviewed films for more than 20 years. Current movie reviews of new theatrical releases and direct-to-video or streaming films are added weekly to the Silver Screen Capture movie news site. Many capsule critiques originally appeared in expanded form in my syndicated Lights Camera Reaction column.

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Posted in 2016

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