‘The Edge of Seventeen’ Review

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Director: Kelly Fremon Craig

Writer: Kelly Fremon Craig

Cast: Hailee Steinfeld, Haley Lu Richardson, Blake Jenner, Hayden Szeto, Alexander Calvert, Woody Harrelson, Eric Keenleyside and Kyra Sedgwick

Synopsis: High-school life gets even more unbearable for Nadine when her best friend, Krista, starts dating her older brother.

 

*Reviewer Note: This will be a spoiler free review.*

 

Coming-of-age films are always a fun experience. Some of them touch a nerve and bring back memories, while others could alienate some people because they didn’t have or share some of those experiences. However, most of them all share one thing in common: we’ve all thought like these kids at point or another, and we all love seeing a character transform in front of us in a a very human way.

The Edge of Seventeen follows high school junior Nadine (Steinfeld), who isn’t like her peers. It doesn’t help that she’s in the shadow of her perfect older brother Darian (Jenner) and has a strained relationship with her mother, Mona (Sedgwick). The only good thing in her life is her lifelong best friend Krista (Richardson), who she can also count on. However, after finding out that Krista and Darian slept together, Nadine feels betrayed and cuts Krista out of her life. What follows is Nadine trying to figure out what to do with her life, and that includes dealing with her nerdy and awkward classmate Erwin (Szeto), her from afar crush and local school bad boy Nick (Calvert) and her rapport with her equally sarcastic history teacher Mr. Bruner (Harrelson).

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Like the coming-of-age films before it, the film isn’t really plot-driven but instead follows Nadine through her misadventures after finding out Krista slept with her older brother and the two have started dating. However, the good thing is that everything feels real. Sure, Nadine follows the trope of being a bit more sharp witted than a real teenager but that doesn’t take away the fun of the film and of her mishaps, which are pretty funny to watch.

What also makes Nadine a great character to follow is how Steinfeld plays her. Nadine could have easily been an unbearable and unlikeable character, and I’m sure some will see her that way and she is to some extent, but Steinfeld plays her so well and with a great amount of charm and wit that it actually makes us invest in. And yes, we want to see her grow and even go through her unfortunate situations and encounters. It also nice to see Steinfeld let loose a bit and find a role that lets her showcase her full potential like she did back in True Grit.

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The rest of the supporting cast is also great and play off each other really well. Blake Jenner has had a breakout year starring in this and Richard Linklater’s Everybody Wants Some!! Haley Lu Richardson as Krista never comes off as distance or mean, we actually feel for her when Krista and Nadine fight. Hayden Szeto as Erwin is one of the biggest highlights of the film, and someone I hope we all get to see in future films. Woody Harrelson is the other cast highlight as his relationship and back-and-forth between Steinfeld and him is what makes the film just fly by. Kyra Sedgwick as Nadine’s mother has her own arc in the film that was nice to watch unfold.

All in all, The Edge of Seventeen isn’t perfect, as it loses some steam for just a bit, before it picks up again. It’s also not the best or a groundbreaking coming-of-age film, but one that you should definitely take the time to watch. The cast overall is fantastic, and its easily one of the best movies of the year.

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The Edge of Seventeen

4.5 out of 5

‘Everybody Wants Some!!’ Review

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Director: Richard Linklater

Writer: Richard Linklater

Cast: Blake Jenner, Glen Powell, Ryan Guzman, Tyler Hoechlin, Temple Baker, J. Quinton Johnson, Will Brittain, Forrest Vickery, Tanner Kalina, Austin Amelio, Zoey Deutch, Juston Street and Wyatt Russell

Synopsis: A group of college baseball players navigate their way through the freedoms and responsibilities of unsupervised adulthood.

 

*Reviewer Note: This will be a spoiler free review.*

 

Richard Linklater is back with his fun, coming-of-age film, and spiritual sequel to Dazed and Confused with Everybody Wants Some!! I have to admit, I haven’t seen Dazed and Confused is a long time, but you don’t really have to had watched it to enjoy and fall in love with Everybody Wants Some!!

There is a good chuck of characters in the film, it follows a baseball team after all, but our main character we follow is Jake (Jenner). Jake was the star pitcher in his high school team, but now he’s on a team that has the best players of their respected teams, he isn’t as special as he thinks. As the movie begins we see Jake move into the teams house, we get introduced to most of the team that is “lead” by star hitter McReynolds (Hoechlin) and Roper (Guzman). The rest of the team include smooth talker Finnegan or Finn (Powell), who takes Jake under his wing a bit and has – and looks – a very Matthew McConaughy vibe to him, Dale (Johnson), the pothead Willoughby (Russell), cocky and “hotshot” player Jay (Street) and other freshman players Beuter (Brittain) and Plummer (Baker).

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Finn (Glenn Powell), Willoughby (Wyatt Russell), Jake (Blake Jenner), Dale (J. Quinton Johnson), and Plummer (Temple Baker)

The whole film takes place days before the new semester starts, so you can only imagine what these college kids are going to do before classes start and their baseball season begins. From going to clubs, to riding around in their cars listening to music at the time, hooking up with different women, and well anything else really, we get a good vibe to every character we get. No character is wasted as all of them have their own moments to shine, and despite some questionable behavior you still feel like you want to be part of the team and hang out with these guys.

Jack is the most grounded of the team and our anchor for the film, and even when he meets Beverly (Duetch), the female role that has any sort of substance, the film doesn’t lose its steam or tone, it continues to keep going and his interactions with Beverly feel real. Which is one of the things that Linklater is so great at doing and is one of the best at; making his characters feel real.

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Jake (Jenner), McReynolds (Tyler Hoechlin), and Roper (Ryan Guzman)

Linklater does a great job of making you feel like you’re back in early 80s. From the production design of every set, the (awesome) soundtrack, the clothing and hair, the nuances, and overall feel of Everybody Wants Some!! The film was resonate with everybody, which is fine, but there is surely something in this that anyone can relate to, and that’s the great thing about Linklater as a director, his films can resonate with just about anyone.

All in all, Everybody Wants Some!! should resonate with some viewers on more than one level or another. All the cast members have their moments to shine, and all of them feel real, which makes the film feel more real, if that makes sense. Sure, the movie is like a few other coming-of-age films we’ve seen, but it’s the characters that make the film worthwhile and fun as hell to watch.

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Everybody Wants Some!!

4.5 out of 5