The movie “The Edge of Seventeen” is centered around a loud, difficult and angsty teenage girl. However, if your best friend hooked up with your older brother, you would probably be angsty too; for 17-year-old Nadine Franklin (Hailee Steinfeld), this signifies the end of the world. In “The Edge of Seventeen,” directed and written by Kelly Fremon Craig, Nadine is portrayed as a socially awkward character who has always had difficulty making friends. The one best friend Nadine has, Krista (Haley Lu Richardson), breaks Nadine’s heart when she wakes up to find her in her brother’s bed.
Nadine’s brother, Darian (Blake Jenner), has been placed on a pedestal his entire life. Not only is Darian portrayed as smart and athletic, but also good looking — all qualities that Nadine apparently lacks. Nadine’s loathing attitude toward her brother radiates whenever the two have a conversation and is the reason why she feels betrayed when Krista and Darian hook up and eventually begin dating.
After asking Krista to choose between her and Darian, Nadine decides to cut her best friend out of her life. Nadine suffers from what can be considered depression and social anxiety after the death of her father — the only person who she claims could understand her. Because of these factors, Nadine faces a difficult time when she tries to find new friends. During this troubling time in Nadine’s life, her history teacher, Mr. Bruner, acts as a safe zone for Nadine to express her emotions.
“I’m going to kill myself” is not only the first line of the movie, but it is also a scene in which Nadine is talking to Mr. Bruner. Nadine had accidentally sent a message to her crush, Nick, and is having anxiety about the situation. It wouldn’t have been too bad, if only Nadine excluded the part of the message where she said that she wants to do sexually explicit things with him. After awkwardly reading the message aloud, Mr. Bruner tells Nadine to take the period off and go have some frozen yogurt to clear her head.
Much to her surprise, Nadine receives a response from Nick asking if she wants to hang out later that night. In a rush of excitement, Nadine runs home to find something to wear. After leaving the bathroom flooded with makeup, her room trashed with clothes and a hair-straightener still turned on, Nadine is picked up by Nick.
The evening could not have gone worse. Nick drove his car to an abandoned lot and quickly begins to kiss Nadine. He lowers the passenger seat so that Nadine is flat on her back and attempts to have sex with her. Nadine yells at him to get off and after a few moments of awkward silence, Nick tries to make another move on her. Nadine storms out of his car, frustrated, embarrassed and heartbroken.
While this is going on, Darian had been out on a date with Krista. He receives a call from their mother stating that Nadine was missing. Despite what Nadine believes, Darian showed true concern for his sister and he and Krista drove around the city looking for her. After getting a call from Mr. Bruner that Nadine took refuge at his house, Darian went to pick her up. The two siblings reconciled that evening, settled their differences and developed a healthier relationship.
In addition to reconciling with Darian and Krista, Nadine’s story also highlights another budding relationship in her life — Erwin Kim. Erwin showed consistent signs of having a crush on Nadine throughout the movie. After asking Nadine about her weekend in a stuttering voice and randomly complimenting her basic maroon sweatshirt, Erwin proved himself to be nervous and uncomfortable when speaking to her.
Nadine later discovers that Erwin is rich after going to his house to swim in his humongous, heated pool that comes with a built in waterfall. Erwin’s bedroom is covered in amazing doodles and comic-book like images and Nadine learns that he is participating in their school’s film festival. After attending the festival, Nadine sees that his film is about her and the comedic history of their relationship.
After beginning the film with a depressing and tense tone, “The Edge of Seventeen” ends on a romantic and uplifting note where Nadine finally seems happy. Not only does this movie touch upon social anxiety and depression, but it also brings up the topic of sexual assault and the dangers of social media interaction. It’s 2017, technology is becoming more advanced and is taking the foreground in everyday life. Communicating via social media may be useful at times, but it can also be dangerous and may lead one to threatening situations. Take Nadine for example: she constantly flips through pictures on Nick’s social media page and then sends him a message that she is too scared to say to his face. Without knowing Nick on a personal level, Nadine agrees to “hang out” with him and lands herself in an unsafe and uncomfortable situation. Some of Nadine’s actions are triggered by the social anxiety and depression she undergoes on a daily basis. “The Edge of Seventeen” exemplifies how sensitive people with anxiety-related disorders are. Undergoing hardships in life is no easy feat to get over and it’s important for people to have empathy when talking to someone with anxiety or depression — just as Mr. Bruner does with Nadine.
As a movie embedded with deep messages and a comedic flare, “The Edge of Seventeen” will have you laughing, crying, frustrated and relieved all throughout a one hour and 45-minute time slot. Although it premiered on Nov. 18, 2016, the movie came out on Amazon and iTunes on Jan. 31 and was released on DVD on Tuesday, Feb. 14.