THE EDGE OF SEVENTEEN
Directed by Kelly Fremon Craig
Closing Night Film, 2016 Toronto International Film Festival
If THE EDGE OF SEVENTEEN represents 21st century Hollywood, things are definitely looking up. Not just because first-time writer-director Kelly Fremon Craig dishes out teenage angst, killer zings, and youthful pep with ease. Not just because it’s a comedic breakthrough for everyone’s favorite Oscar-nominated superstar of part-Filipino ancestry Hailee Steinfeld. And not just because it’s the rare Chinese studio co-production that doesn’t seem to impede the creative freedom of its makers. It’s also because THE EDGE OF SEVENTEEN, with such a basic and organic appreciation for relatable, grin-inducing high school romance, gives life to an Asian American male romantic hero. And it’s done so effortlessly that it makes you wonder why that was so hard to begin with.
Credit the story, familiar to fans of high school comedies and survivors of the folly that is adolescence. Steinfeld plays Nadine, long a social outcast but who now feels especially alone after her best and only friend Krista develops the hots for Nadine’s ew-gross younger brother. Credit Steinfeld, who shows she can carry a film whose sprightly script jumps across comedy and drama, often combining the two, much to the horror of Nadine who can’t believe what a farce her life has become. And of course, credit Hayden Szeto (also in this year’s The Unbidden), who slides into scenes with looks, charm, and all-too-real awkward humor, proving that so often the leading man you’re looking for has been under your nose the entire time. –Brian Hu
Writer: Kelly Fremon Craig
Starring: Hailee Steinfeld, Haley Lu Richardson, Hayden Szeto, Woody Harrelson
Producer: James L. Brooks, Richard Sakai, Julie Ansell, Kelly Fremon Craig