"I don't even like me". Because to cap it all off there's no toilet paper. "When I read the script for the first time, it wasn't a teen movie or a high school movie - it's a movie of growing up, figuring out what you're good at and what your place is".
Steinfeld carries the movie effortlessly, walking that fine line of making a somewhat bratty, entitled and self-absorbed character endearing, amusing and even empathetic. Filmmakers can, despite their best intentions, idealize their own adolescence or forget what it was actually like to be young, leading to films that feel dishonest.
There are other reasons to go see "The Edge of Seventeen", of course. Troubled girl's best friend sleeps with girl's brother and, piling injury on insult, the hookup ripens into viable romance. Her family is still reeling from the death of her father years earlier. But The Edge of Seventeen is better than good. There's a particularly tough scene where she's gotten herself into what she, somewhere in the back of her mind, knows will be an very bad encounter with a terrible boy, and it goes about as you'd expect, and she responds appropriately, with a withering cut. But this time, as we watch Lakewood High junior Nadine (Hailee Steinfeld) stumble through the aches and pains of growing up, we're gifted with a softer filter that blurs the previously harsh lines of the experience into something softer, more tolerable and oh-so relatable.
Similarly, Kyra Sedgwick does wonders with her supporting role as Mona, Nadine's lonely and harried mom, rendered a widow when Nadine's doting dad, played by Eric Keenleyside, dies of a heart attack while in the auto with 13-year-old Nadine - early in the film. We quickly learn that this perpetually misunderstood misfit has a smart-ass answer and an eyeroll for everything, some long-shot romantic longings and an older brother (Everybody Wants Some's Blake Jenner) who's both a favorite child and a campus Jock-God. Steinfeld is absolutely splendid as our hapless heroine Nadine, a girl who rarely dresses for success and lives outside the school cliques whose members have deemed her a nobody. When Nadine's two mainstays (she's frightened off nearly everyone else) become an adorable item, she goes right off the rails and plunges into serious danger. His directing career petered out after "As Good As It Gets" 19 years ago - he has made two minor films since - but he continues to write and produce, and this feels like one of his projects: unhurried, dryly amusing, with empathy for both winners and losers.More news: What’s going wrong for Cam Newton and the Carolina Panthers?
It must be. If it weren't, they wouldn't keep making so many movies about it. You'll hear no vocal fry, no cluttering every clause with "likes", no dimpling at the football team in the hallway. Darian may look like a textbook babe, but that's less important than his quiet shouldering of family burdens too heavy for a boy of his tender years.
Most importantly, Craig takes Nadine and what she's going through seriously, performing a tricky high-wire act of knowing how small these conflicts ultimately are, but remembering how they feel, in the moment, like a tunnel you will never come out of.
Sedgwick ("The Closer") does solid work as the endlessly frustrated Mona, who also has issues unrelated to her daughter. Nadine is neither. She's a complex young woman dealing with the pains of loneliness, low self-esteem and existential confusion. Mr. Bruner, with his apathy lightly masking affection, is a help. It's hard not to see bits of yourself in Nadine, and it's even harder not to laugh when she mimes imitating giving her friend's dad a handjob.