Tracey: Everyone’s going to love “Edge of Seventeen”! Written and directed by Kelly Fremon Craig, this is the incisive, honest to blog tale of Nadine (Hailee Steinfeld), who’s struggling through the awkward land of her high school life. Things get even awkwarder when her jock brother Darian (Blake Jenner, from “Glee”) starts dating her best friend, Krista (Haley Lu Richardson, from “Split”). Woody Harrelson is perfect as Mr. Bruner, the jaded, seemingly dismissive, but actually warm-hearted teacher who keeps Nadine grounded.
Hank: I liked it a lot! A winner! The best part was the sweet relationship between the precocious, a little over-emotional, but very kind-hearted daughter, and her jovial, slightly oblivious, endlessly loving father. Tracey, kiddo, did those two remind you of anyone?
Tracey: Huh? I dunno. Little Orphan Annie and Daddy Warbucks?
Cousin Franz: “Edge of Seventeen” is a little John Hughes, a little “Juno,” a little “Fast Times at Ridgemont High,” a little “Degrassi,” a little “Easy A.” These are compliments, but also acknowledgments that there is, to put it on scriptural terms, nothing original under our shiny solar orb. There are, however, always new waves of young adults, and it’s all new to THEM; they need their experiences crystallized and elucidated, even if it is done by clear-eyed, articulate writer/ directors in their 30s. Or ESPECIALLY if it is done by clear-eyed, articulate writer/ directors in their 30s.
Beatricia: Do they also need to be snarky, ungrateful, disrespectful potty-mouths?
Trent: HELL NO!
Trent: All I’m saying is, this movie is dope and Woody Harrelson is hilarious in it. I’ll give a Cherry to anything that keeps Hailee Steinfeld acting, and far away from crap pop like her song “Most Girls.”
“Most girls are like this! But also like that! Or like something else! Whatever kind of girl you are, this song is about you, so buy my song, I’ll tell you anything you want to hear!”
Tracey: For once I agree with Trent. Not only is Hailee a far better actor than singer, but that kind of supposedly empowering song is actually reductive as to the limited spectrum of codified “female” behaviors it endorses.
Trent: That’s what I was putting down, except I didn’t say it in Dorkinese.
Grandpa Felicius: The cleverest thing in this school-yard hand-down is the way in which Woody Harrelson charmingly diffuses the usual “Male Teacher / Female Student” cliches. That opening scene! Master Harrelson correctly chastises the adolescent hormonal declarations of the young lady and exposes them for their essential vapidity in a quick witted way that would have gotten him fired in the educational minefield of today’s classrooms. But in the context of this fiction, that is what young Nadine needs to hear, because silly children need to be confronted with their inchoate stupidity, not coddled and enabled into suicidal moods.
Beatricia: I just can’t get with a movie that calls itself “Edge of Seventeen” and then refuses to make any Stevie Nicks and/or Fleetwood Mac references. Instead we get Aimee Mann’s “Save Me” again. I love Aimee Mann, mind you! I have her new album, “Mental Illness,” on repeat right now. But “Magnolia” used up “Save Me.”
Blurbarella: “Everyone’s– A Winner!– “Suicidal Moods.”
4 out of 6 Cherries
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