where is the friend's house (abbas kiarostami, 1987)
they shall not grow old (peter jackson, 2018)

international women's day: film fatales #78: the edge of seventeen (kelly fremon craig, 2016)

The idea was to watch a movie directed by a woman for International Women's Day, and The Edge of Seventeen has been sitting on my DVR for far too long, so it was the winner.

First, to get what I thought was an obvious point out of the way, this movie has nothing to do with the Stevie Nicks song. It's a coming of age story, originally titled "Besties", not only directed by first-timer Craig but written by her as well. It begins as a story about two best friends, but something happens to split them apart, and it becomes more a story of one of the two, Nadine, played by Hailee Steinfeld. She is troubled, she is self-absorbed, she is a smart-ass ... standard stuff for a teenager growing up. And The Edge of Seventeen doesn't exactly break new ground in that genre.

But certain things raise it a bit above the norm. Steinfeld is great ... well, Nadine is a great character, so credit Steinfeld, but also credit Craig for writing the character. Most of the people in the movie turn out to have more depth than seems evident at first, and that's nice ... the perfect older brother has problems, too, the seemingly lazy teacher actually cares about his students (at least, he cares about Nadine), Nadine's mom, as played by Kyra Sedgwick, annoys both Nadine and the audience, but there is more to her as well. We root for Nadine, even though Craig/Steinfeld are not afraid to show her lesser sides. It's all recognizable to anyone who went to high school in the U.S., and mostly avoids too many stereotypes.

As is often the case in teenage movies, many of the actors are clearly older than the characters they play. Steinfeld was 19-20 (irrelevant trivia: her uncle is the Body by Jake guy), Haley Lu Richardson, who plays the bestie, was 20, older brother Blake Jenner was 24, potential Nadine's boyfriend Hayden Szeto was  30-31. It's not as bad as some, but it is noticeable, and requires at least a little suspension of disbelief.

There is nothing wrong with The Edge of Seventeen, and Steinfeld is a big plus. The movie is worth a look.

Here is the student film Nadine's boyfriend made ... the actual animation was by David Silverman:

(Here is a letterboxd list of Film Fatales movies.)


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