“Life is full of misery, loneliness and suffering, and its all over much too soon.” – Woody Allen
It is a mystery to me why I so enjoy a good movie about the teenage years, but I do. And I haven’t enjoyed anything like The Edge of Seventeen (2016) since Juno back in 2007. I happened to pick it up at the La Veta Public Library and was so glad I did. Talk about a great story and amazing writing, not to mention some great acting in the mix! No wonder it was chosen as one of the ten best movies of 2016 by Vanity Fair! If you enjoy a film that takes you into the life of a very smart but confused teenager with a wry sense of humor, you’ll like this. Every scene drew me further into Nadine’s world of boundless insecurity and self-consciousness. The acting between Hailee Steinfeld and Woody Harrelson (her favorite teacher) was spot on, and the cinematography also captured those moments of complete disillusionment so a part of being young and inexperienced in the insanity of life.
For example, I related to Nadine’s frustration with her boomer Mom (Kyra Sedgwick) whose husband recently died. She captured the messed up, self-absorbed parent role perfectly, but in a funny way! I had to write down her advice to Nadine who is constantly depressed. Mom said: “When I feel down. I get really quiet and still inside. And then I say to myself: ‘Everybody in the world is as miserable and empty as I am, they’re just better at pretending.’“
Luckily, Nadine had a great teacher to go talk to about all of this. Talk about comic timing with her teacher played by Woody Harrelson. I loved him in this!
On a personal level I so related to Nadine’s teenage angst. Nothing made sense to me at 17. I felt so ugly and awkward all the time. I hated the caste system at my high school in Colorado Springs. I hated how my supposed friends vaporized when they got a boyfriend. I hated how the popular kids could take advantage of the rest of us. The entire scene turned me off, and I knew I just had to survive this insanity and make it to college to finally try and find a better life. As it turned out the kids at college were just as messed up, if not more, and the self-consciousness and insecurity just kept coming for years after that. I will never forget asking a friend’s Mom when I was 24:
“When will life begin to make sense?”
She thought for a moment and then turned to me and said,
“It will take quite a while, but it will get better.”
And you know what? She was so right!
I only wish I had had a great film like this to watch when I was a teen. It would have made me feel much less alone. This film was so good, it makes me want to write a screen play!