Of course, their terrific performances would amount to very little without the sensitive, thorough and warm-hearted script that truly understands the struggles of being a teenager. Kelly Fremon Craig, who not only writes but directs and co-produces this bundle of joy, has a real gift for portraying a honest portrait of youth, making what appears to be a really personal and intimate story immediately recognisable and affecting, offering a refreshing perspective from other genre offerings that do not have this additional insight. The characters that are crafted are not always likeable but they are human, for all their warts and flaws, which is what makes The Edge of Seventeen such a compelling piece of cinema. Aside for the well-sketched characters, at the heart of this film is the essential themes that play such an integral role and create such absorbing viewing. Placing an emphasis on acceptance - of yourself, your feelings and others - and that everyone hurts but some people are better at hiding it conjures an added sentimentality and authenticity that hits you emotionally if you have experienced such difficulty in growing up. So, basically, everyone. These themes are considered in a truly moving way, with an extra poignancy for how effectively you can relate to them - all combined in a teen-drama that is surprisingly hilarious, with these combination of tones perfectly demonstrating the ups and downs of adolescence.
If one could find something to complain about with this piece, it eventually winds up somewhere a little too conventional to be recommended as the genre-busting film it very nearly is. It indulges just a little too much in 'Hollywood' with its overly sanguine ending that softens the general bite of the piece. It is also perhaps just a little on the long side that just a ten minute tightening could easily fix. Still, that doesn't stop The Edge of Seventeen from being an absolute gem of a film. It's poignant, honest and authentic, with wonderful work from Steinfeld, Harrelson and Craig in particular, who are central pieces in the brilliant work the film does. It succeeds because of how perceptively it approaches its subject matter, how tenderly it considers its themes and how efficently it touches a nerve with everyone that has ever experienced/is experiencing growing up. The Edge of Seventeen is a film you need to see now - you'll kick yourself otherwise.
Highlight: Steinfeld's performance.