The Edge of Seventeen

Critics Consensus

The Edge of Seventeen's sharp script -- and Hailee Steinfeld's outstanding lead performance -- make this more than just another coming-of-age dramedy.



Total Count: 205


Audience Score

User Ratings: 27,163
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Movie Info

THE EDGE OF SEVENTEEN is a new coming-of-age movie in the vein of Sixteen Candles and The Breakfast Club - an honest, candid, often hilarious look at what it's like to grow up as a young woman in today's modern world. Everyone knows that growing up is hard, and life is no easier for high school junior Nadine (Hailee Steinfeld), who is already at peak awkwardness when her all-star older brother Darian (Blake Jenner) starts dating her best friend Krista (Haley Lu Richardson). All at once, Nadine feels more alone than ever, until the unexpected friendship of a thoughtful boy (Hayden Szeto) gives her a glimmer of hope that things just might not be so terrible after all. The film also stars Kyra Sedgwick as Nadine's well-meaning but completely ineffective mother, and Woody Harrelson as Nadine's History teacher, mentor and reluctant sounding board. The Edge of Seventeen is produced by Academy Award winner James L. Brooks - the filmmaker behind big-screen, character-driven classics such as Terms of Endearment, Broadcast News, Big, Say Anything, The Simpsons, Jerry Maguire and As Good as It Gets.


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Critic Reviews for The Edge of Seventeen

All Critics (205) | Top Critics (42) | Fresh (193) | Rotten (12)

Audience Reviews for The Edge of Seventeen

  • Aug 28, 2018
    Hailee Steinfeld captures the essence of the high school outcast whose fragile psyche is rocked when her best friend starts up a relationship with her BMOC older brother. Her angst is palpable as she rebels against her emotionally needy mother, pines after one of the school bad boys, and with the perceived desertion of her one and only friend, finds the only person she can talk to is her teacher, Mr Bruner, played by Woody Harrelson. A fine cast carried the story and the emotions seemed genuine as the stories played out on the screen. Ms Steinfeld was radiant and commanded the screen whenever she was on camera, The script accurately portrayed teenage angst without getting heavy handed or melodramatic and the denouement felt organically natural.
    Mark A Super Reviewer
  • Jun 24, 2018
    I often understand when people talk about having movies that speak personally to them because, for one reason or another, Hollywood just hasn't gotten around to making films for that particular audience yet. What I mean is, say, young black teenagers, normally, don't get to star in their own major motion picture. That's obviously starting to change now. which is for the better, but it wasn't the case for quite a while. This can be the case for any demographic. I'm just using black teenagers as an example to prove my point. The film industry is improving in that regard as, now, there's a lot more variety in casting lead roles than at any point in the past. There's still a lot of work to be done, but progress is being made. But, at the same time, while I would like to see a movie about a man my age, of my nationality, exploring issues that are relevant to me, that's not to mean that I cannot connect to a character of another nationality and, even, another gender just as long as I can relate to parts of the story and what the lead character might be going through. And despite the fact that I'm not seventeen nor a girl, I can say that parts of the movie definitely spoke to me. Mostly Nadine's loneliness and some self-conscious issues. Now, don't get me wrong, I had friends in school and I loved every single one of them. I still love them to this day, naturally. But, in spite of all of that, I always felt like I was on the outside looking in (which you could say is one of themes of this movie, where Nadine, due to her shyness, doesn't put herself out there and she struggles to connect with people who aren't named Krista). Now that's not because of anything any of my friends did or said, it was more my feelings of inadequacy. First things first, I came into the 'group' at the third grade and the group of friends I eventually ended in had already been established prior to my arrival at the school. Part of it is due to the fact of how I was raised. My family keeps to itself mostly. We're very private people and, really, that was passed down onto me. Some of my friends from high school probably don't even know what my mom looks like, that's how bad it was back in the day. That lent itself to me being, really, a very shy and introverted person. It takes a lot for me to really trust and, eventually, become friends with someone. But, I'd like to think that I'm a pretty good friend once you get to really know me. That's neither here nor there, I suppose. The self-conscious issues, well, really, I still have them to this day. Not going in-depth on that, because we'll be here forever. Anyway, how about we move on to how great Hailee Steinfeld is in this movie. She was great in the True Grit remake, but sometimes those performances like that, essentially, put someone on the map are singular. That type of greatness is, in some cases, never captured again. Of course, it helps quite a bit when the directors at the helm of True Grit are the Coen Brothers. You can certainly do far worse than having these two giving you directions. But, thankfully for Hailee, she was able to duplicate the great performance she had in True Grit but, obviously, in a completely different role in this movie. Hailee is charming, funny and infuriating. Sometimes even all three in the same scene. I don't say 'infuriating' in a negative manner, though. Being a teen, where your body is completely changing and you're viewing things differently for the first time in your life, is not an easy time. I think people like to pretend it's not difficult, but it is. Your teen years are, basically, where you decided the type of person that you're gonna be, theoretically, for the rest of your adult life. That's not easy and the teen years might not even be enough to accomplish this. Some people in their 30s and 40s are still trying to figure out who they're meant to be. So, basically, being a teen really is a messy thing to go through, particularly if you only have one friend like Nadine does, in Krista. And when that one friend, you feel, whether rightly or wrongly, betrays you by dating your brother, it's no wonder that Nadine's world was turned upside down and nothing seems to be going her way. It should also be noted that Nadine's father, whom she was very close to, died when she was 13 of a heart attack while they were driving home. Her mother, really, leaned more on Nadine's older brother, Darian, (whom Nadine feels has a perfect life) and she was sort of 'tossed' aside in favor of him. So, again, while she may be wrong in her reaction and how Krista dating her brother is not a betrayal, you can see where she's coming from and why she would rebel the way she has and go after her crush (while messing things up along the way with her mother and brother) despite, at the same time, getting to know a really nice guy that's actually interested in her. There are some parts, however, where the movie didn't do a good job of getting me into Nadine. What I mean by that is that, in spite of her father dying and losing her best friend (through her own actions and, basically, forcing Krista to choose between them), sometimes I'm just like 'first world problems, man'. In spite of her issues, Nadine has a pretty cool life. She lives in a nice house, has some nice things. And that's not to say that the material stuff should make her happy or generally make her immune to unhappiness, but Nadine still has more than most people and she doesn't seem to see that. Then again, I suppose that could be part of the narrative, since Nadine does admit that she likes to pretend she's the only who has problem, since it might make her seem special to herself. Which, looking back on it, I sort of understand, given that Nadine likes very little about herself. And I like that those issues are explored. It's not super in-depth, but you get to see why Nadine thinks the way she does and how she might feel the need to look for something that's clearly not right for her (getting laid by her crush who, inevitably, ends up being an asshole). It's her way to make herself feel like she matters in someone's life. And, honestly, when I type it out like that, it's actually kind of sad. Having said that, though, I really did enjoy this movie a lot. I thought the writing was strong, funny and sympathetic to Nadine's issues. Again, Nadine isn't portrayed as a perfect character. She's clearly very flawed, but the narrative is about Nadine realizing those flaws and choosing to work on them before she pushes away everyone who loves her. Having said that, while I get that Nadine 'breaking up' with her best friend was needed to drive the narrative forward, I never felt like that was resolved satisfyingly. Krista was the only friend Nadine had for, say, a decade and the way it's resolved, Nadine tells Krista to have a great day and that Krista will call her later. And that's it. She goes off to do something else and the movie ends after Nadine, finally, is able to join a group of people and get over her shyness. I get that the movie used this break-up of best friends to explore the dynamic between Nadine and her family, but I felt that the friendship could have been resolved in a far more satisfying fashion. Minor complaints really. The casting is strong. Woody Harrelson is always great as the sarcastic, wisecracking asshole who, deep down, cares. Blake Jenner, who I believe I've never seen before, was also pretty damn good as Darian. Kyra Sedgwick is always very reliable, so no complaints there either. I don't really have much else to say about this movie honestly. Hailee Steinfeld is tremendous in this movie and she really does capture the messiness that is being a teenager. I can't say it redefines the coming-of-age genre, but it's a pretty damn strong addition regardless. I'd definitely recommend this.
    Jesse O Super Reviewer
  • Dec 27, 2017
    Hailee Steinfeld is a revelation in this film, playing an incredibly awkward and difficult to like teenager who spirals after her father dies and her only friend (Haley Lu Richardson) begins dating her brother (Blake Jenner). We empathize with her and understand that she means well, but we cringe as she's incredibly insensitive to her teacher (Woody Harrelson) and a boy who likes her (Hayden Szeto). Kyra Sedgwick is good as the mother, dealing with her own pain and insecurities, and yet also unkind to her daughter. It's a strong cast, and a strong script as well - emotionally honest, and never cloying. Steinfeld's scenes with Szeto on the roller coaster and swimming pool are very well done, as are her scenes with Jenner late in the movie. Throughout it all, Harrelson dispensing tough love hits all the right notes. It's hard to do films in this genre because there has been so many over the years, but director Kelly Fremon Craig gives this one a sense of depth and substance.
    Antonius B Super Reviewer
  • Jul 14, 2017
    Intensely enjoyable. Nice to know that Hailee Steinfeld 's terrific turn in the 2010 "True Grit" wasn't a fluke.
    Alec B Super Reviewer

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