The 25th annual Philadelphia Film Festival found a commonality among many of its Centerpieces and Spotlight selections, they featured heavy themes and darker stories. Thankfully, one of the festival's late entries, the coming-of-age comedy, The Edge of Seventeen, helped lighten the mood with its witty situational humor and strong collection of characters.
Nadine (Hailee Steinfeld) struggles to socialize with anyone at her school other than her best friend from 2nd grade, Krista (Haley Lu Richardson), and an awkward classmate named Erwin (Hayden Szeto). Yet, when Nadine finds Krista in bed with her older brother (Blake Jenner), their unlikely romantic spark leaves her friendless and unable to handle life on her own. She tries to adjust and win the affection of a local heartthrob, but Nadine discovers she has a lot of growing up to do.
The Edge of Seventeen represents a refreshing coming-of-age film that's carried quite well True Grit star, Hailee Steinfeld. She creates a realistic, albeit flawed, character that resonates well with the audience. Teenage years are a time for self-loathing and expanding beyond your comfort zone, both of which are evident in Kelly Fremon Craig's winning directorial debut. A strong script comprising of raw emotion, genuine laughs and everything in between helps support a long list of stellar performances. The most notable of which comes from veteran actor Woody Harrelson who stars as Nadine's favorite teacher. Harrelson dominates the film with striking one-liners and a comedic comfort zone that we've come to appreciate over his storied career. The Edge of Seventeen isn't the most groundbreaking film of its kind, but it's a worthwhile watch that entertains with remarkable ease.