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The Edge of 17

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Article Written By Sarah Joseph

Photo Courtesy of IMDb.com

“We’re all pretty bizarre. Some of us are just better at hiding it, that’s all.” said Andrew Clark, wrestling jock.

These frank and honest words came from the 1985 movie, “The Breakfast Club,”  however they can almost certainly be heard in the 2016 film, “Edge of Seventeen.” Both movies, seemingly upbeat and fun, explore and dig into the darker sides of teenage years and how different people react to the world at large.

In much the same way as “The Breakfast Club,” “Edge of Seventeen” creates a fictional story that echoes the real world, progressing through a storyline that is not improbable.

The protagonist, Nadine, must deal with the death of a parent, the irritating perfection of her older brother, and an added curveball of her best friend– and only friend– dating her brother. The film follows her through these difficulties that life gave her. Being a teenager is hard and even harder when it seems like there is no one to turn to. Nadine finds herself turning to a reluctant, sassy teacher, Mr. Bruner–who ends up being the beacon of humor, however dark, in the movie– and an awkward male classmate, Erwin. The audience follows Nadine as she learns how to cope with life.

“Edge of Seventeen” is reminiscent of the 1980s Molly Ringwald movies, such a “16 Candles” and “Pretty in Pink,” two movies that delve into the complexities and pressures of being a teenager. Like these movies, “Edge of Seventeen” assumes this mantle of portraying and explaining the actions of high schoolers.

However, Hailee Steinfeld’s Nadine is a more complex, complete character as opposed to Ringwald’s Samantha (“16 Candles”) and Andie (“Pretty in Pink”). Nadine goes through the full spectrum of emotions and eventually recognizes the qualities within her she finds lacking (other than the typical popularity). Where Ringwald’s characters fail to confront the issue and attempt to fix it, Steinfeld’s portrayal opens herself up to more relatability and quirky self-awareness. Through the roller coaster of emotions of everyday life, Nadine finds herself and opens herself up to the positive possibilities that the events in her life can lead to.