HTS Moderator , Reviewer
Title: The Edge of Seventeen
HTS Overall Score:82
High school can either be one of the greatest experiences of your life, or it can be one of the worst, but no matter which end of the spectrum your experience lies on we all share one similarity. Those last two years are complete chaos. It’s a transition period that plagues people starting around their Jr. year where the lines between child and adult start to become blurred and you’re stuck in a sort of purgatory where you belong totally to neither of the two life stages. The same goes for young Nadine (Hailee Steinfeld), who is dealing with the death of her father, the embarrassment that is her mother, as well as the annoyingness that is her brother all under the manic gaze of being 17 years old and having the emotional melodrama of “Anne of Green Gables”. I will fully admit that I really wasn’t feeling “The Edge of Seventeen” when I saw the trailer. It looked kind of stupid and cheesy from those short few minutes, but the rave reviews started coming in and I began to get a little more curious and open to the idea. Once again, I’m the happy victim of being surprised out of my chair, as the film turned out to be one of the most enjoyable watches of the last few months, and easily one of the best films of last year.
Nadine (Steinfeld) crashes into the first scene of the movie by going to one of her high school teachers and melodramatically claiming that she is going to kill herself. That pretty much sums up the craziness that is to follow. Nadine is having a fairly miserable life, left with only her mother Mono (Kyra Sedgwick) and annoying older brother Darian (Blake Jenner) to keep her company after her father passes away. She’s a bit caustic, a bit over dramatic (as you can tell by the matter of fact way she tells her teacher for the umpteenth time that she’s going to off herself after some crisis pops up week after week) and pretty grouchy at the hand she’s been dealt in life. A bit of a loner, she only has ONE single friend since childhood. A girl named Krista (Haley Lu Richardson), who has been her best friend through all of the good times and the bad times. This changes dramatically when Nadine walks in on Krista and her brother fooling around and she comes face to face with the reality that Krista is not just HER friend anymore.
This particular turn of events turns Nadine’s little world upside and the selfish teenager side of her takes control of the humanoid looking shell for one bumpy ride. Wallowing in self-pity and despair, she completely ignores the advances of shy classmate Erwin (Hayden Szetzo) while drooling over the bad boy classmate who works at the local pet shop. Throwing herself around in a wild high school temper tantrum, Nadine chases whatever rainbows she can, even if those rainbows turn out to be completely rotten and the people she had taken for granted turn out to be her anchors in the crazy storm of being 17.
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=90906[/img]“The Edge of Seventeen” is quite simply a MARVELOUS teen dramedy. It takes the angst up to level 11, but tempers it with witty and pertinent humor that keeps you chuckling wryly while holding your head and groaning at the same time. I’ve been really turned off to Hailee Steinfeld recently as she’s been too content to take garbage roles ever since her breakout performance in the Coen Brothers rendition of “True Grit”. She had showed so much potential, but then squandered it with cheap teen comedies that started to put her in the back seat of Hollywood. Thankfully “The Edge of Seventeen” puts a stop to the rumors that she is a has been with one of the best performances I have seen her do. She models the life of a stupid 17 year old, including all of the hypocrisy, the melodrama, the subterfuge and familial rebellion, wrapping up Nadine as a fairly complex, but decidedly simple portrayal of….well…. a teenager.
Opposite Hailee is a stellar cast of students and adults alike, with Kyra Sedgwick acting the part of the narcissistic and self-absorbed mother and Blake Jenner taking on the role of the almost adult kid who has to take on the male role model mantle way too young in his life. With all of those performances, the one that truly stands out to rival Hailee’s is that of Woody Harrelson. His portrayal of the bitingly dark Mr. Bruner is the perfect foil to Nadine’s melodrama. He is dark and angsty, with just enough wit and wisdom to ground him as the perfect funny guy in the movie. That’s not to say that he’s a slapstick character, but every time he opened his mouth I was laughing myself silly, and especially love the final scene when Nadine gets to see the “other” side of his life.
Rated R for sexual content, language and some drinking - all involving teens
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=90914[/img]Shot digitally, “The Edge of Seventeen” looks fantastic on Blu-ray with a fairly neutral looking image that doesn’t take a whole lot of color grading to look fantastic. Colors are warm and sunny, with fantastic amounts of pop to them, from the primaries of Nadine’s clothing to the luscious green grass or soft white of her home’s walls. Fine detail is amazing, with intimate facial nuances and little things like the dust on top of Nadine’s nightstand showing up with crystal clarity. The black levels are always nice and healthy, although I did notice some weird softness in some of the dimly lit indoor sequences (mainly inside Nadine’s home). To put it simply, “The Edge of Seventeen” is a fantastic looking Blu-ray that rises above the cheap dramatic style of the film to give us a near razor sharp looking encode.
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=90922[/img]The 7.1 DTS-HD MA track is almost overkill, as the front heavy mix really doesn’t take as much advantage of those extra two channels a whole lot. The dialog is strong and clean, and the mains carry the rest of the heavy lifting with a solid mix between the three channels. The backs and sides are mainly filtering in a few ambient noises that come in from the rear, such as when Nadine is in the car with her crush, or the score filling out the back end a bit. Other than that, they are fairly quiet and reserved, only acting as supplemental channels for the most part. LFE is also a bit restrained, but there is some very pleasant weight to the low end of the score as well as the rumble of a Chevy car on Nadine’s “date”. It’s a simple front heavy track, but still has enough nuance and auditory details in the rear channels to make for a pleasing experience.
• Actor & Filmmaker Roundtable
• Gag Reel
While the movie is not exactly a one woman show, it really is Hailee’s shining moment as she plays the fantastically snarky and “tortured” Nadine with the deft mastery of an artist. The movie now happens to be one of my favorites from 2016 and had me spin the disc twice before I finished this review even. Steinfeld has once again cemented herself as a rising star, and I sincerely hope she gets the much-needed attention she deserves for better and better role. The Blu-ray looks and sounds fantastic, and while the extras aren’t exactly stellar, it doesn’t take away from the fact that the movie itself is more than enough incentive to buy the film. Definitely a must own.
Starring: Hailee Steinfeld, Haley Lu Richardson, Blake Jenner
Directed by: Kelly Fremon Craig
Written by: Kelly Fremon Craig
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 AVC
Audio: English: DTS-HD MA 7.1
Runtime: 102 Minutes
Blu-ray Release Date: February 7th, 2017
Buy The Edge of Seventeen On Blu-ray at Amazon
Recommendation: Must Own!
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