How The Edge Of Seventeen embraces its coming-of-age roots to become one of the most downright enjoyable cinematic experiences of the year.
“Everyone in the world is as miserable as you are, they’re just better at pretending.”
I adore coming-of-age movies. The good ones, I mean. That may be a bit of an unpopular sweeping statement to make, but I’ve always gravitated towards their inherent optimism. Cinema may be an art form, but that should never overshadow how a film can make you feel – nor should its genre undermine its impact. Films like The Breakfast Club and Dazed And Confused have defined who I am as a person. I’ve connected with them.
The Edge Of Seventeen is the latest in a long line of coming-of-age classics. Kelly Fremon Craig’s directorial debut is equal parts charming, funny and painfully relatable. It’s a light-hearted romp that evokes fond memories of all the angst, romance, stupidity and discomfort of your teenage years – and the experience is only enhanced further by Craig’s razor sharp, snarky wit. Couple this with Hailee Steinfeld’s charismatic central performance and you’re beginning to understand why it’s one of the most shamelessly endearing cinematic experiences of the year.
What’s truly remarkable about The Edge Of Seventeen is just how unremarkable its story is – and how that ultimately has no bearing on one’s enjoyment of it at all. Craig recycles familiar tropes from films we love – but presents them in way that still feels unique. It’s a John Hughes eighties classic in the skin of a millennial-era crowd-pleaser – marrying the warm, beating heart of the former with the wonderfully bitter sense of humour (and slightly more progressive values) of the latter. Its mere existence transcends generations.
We can drool over the artistic flair of cinema’s finest auteurs for months on end – but, at the end of the day, I’m far more likely to connect with a pouty-faced Nadine marooned on a ferris wheel with an adorably pathetic boy who’s hopelessly in love with her. Moments like these make me fall in love with the magic of cinema time and time again, and I’ll never stop celebrating them. This is the kind of shit I live for.
I’d never have imagined this when I left 3 years ago, but I’m actually starting to miss school a little. Granted, not all of it – but I have very fond memories of lunchtimes spent with a bunch of friends melodramatically complaining about life, teasing each other about girls and generally just chatting shit. To anyone out there still at school – treasure those little moments. Movies like this will make you look back on them and smile one day.