The Edge of Seventeen

Kelly Fremon CraigUSA102 minutes201614AColourEnglish

Oscar nominees Hailee Steinfeld and Woody Harrelson star in this hilarious, edgy and poignant coming-of-age tale about an endearingly witty but self-absorbed teen whose life goes into a tailspin after her older brother starts dating her best friend.

Academy Award nominees Hailee Steinfeld (True Grit) and Woody Harrelson star in this hilarious, poignant coming-of-age tale about a witty but self-absorbed teen whose life goes into a tailspin after her older brother starts dating her best friend.

Not many people pay attention to socially awkward high-school junior Nadine (Steinfeld), but it isn't for lack of effort on her part. The Edge of Seventeen begins with Nadine assailing her history teacher, Mr. Bruner (Harrelson), with her umpteenth breathless — and phony — crisis. Tired of Nadine's high drama, Mr. Bruner refuses to offer token consolation, though he does offer her half his cookie.

Whatever adolescent disaster Nadine thinks she's suffering from, nothing can prepare her for what is tantamount to a personal apocalypse: Nadine's best — and, well, only — friend, Krista (Haley Lu Richardson), has started dating Nadine's annoyingly earnest fitness-nut older brother Darian (Blake Jenner). Ugh! This unholy union sparks a new level of mania in Nadine, one that will push her to try new things — like sending brazen text messages to the cute, aloof boy who works at the pet store in the mall.

Writer-director Kelly Fremon Craig's debut is a rollicking tour of 21st-century teen angst. Nadine can be crazily solipsistic, but over the course of her misadventures she learns to exercise empathy for others, even Darian. Harrelson (also starring in the Gala Presentation LBJ) gives a beautifully considered performance peppered with small surprises, while Steinfeld exudes comic chops, embracing every facet of this wondrously complicated heroine — and taking her to the very edge.

This film has been selected for the next generation of film lovers by the TIFF Next Wave Committee.

YouthComing of AgeDramaFamilyRelationshipsFirst FeatureFemale Director