Hailee Steinfeld is brilliant in this coming of age, teenage drama, comedy that utilizes the excellent young actress and captures the awkward frustrations of being a white middle-class teenager. Steinfeld plays Nadine, an unsocial young woman who only has one great best friend and constantly torments her history teacher. A brief introduction gives viewers the background to know she lost her dad in under tragic circumstances at 13 and has been dealing with the results for several years.
Nadine's brother Darian (Blake Jenner) seems to have everything together as a popular cool senior and makes it even worse for Nadine when he starts dating her only best friend Krista (Haley Lu Richardson). Nadine starts to make rash decisions and seeking out boys for company. Really capturing the awkward high school conversations are Nadine's blossoming relationship with artist Erwin (Hayden Szeto) who struggles to be flirtatious and charming and is not successful at winning over Steinfeld's Nadine at first.
The highlight of the film are the few scenes with Woody Harrelson as the disinterested history teacher Mr. Bruner, who tries unsuccessfully to coach and give her advice after several embarrassing mistakes. Harrelson shines in the role and should have audiences laughing and his interactions with Steinfeld showing the promising young actress's wit in comparison to the veteran. Kyra Sedgwick also shines as Nadine's Mother struggling to keep it together as Nadine has an emotional breakdown.
The story explores teens interactions with technology and the frustrations of young love. The adults try to give young Nadine perspective about life past high school but her shortsightedness lands her in plenty of situations that are both hilarious and cringeworthy. Steinfeld deserved her Golden Globes nomination and looks to have a promising career ahead of her.
I don't normally see these teenage romantic comedies but I'm glad I caught this one as it appealed to me more than most of the movies that have come out this year. Harrelson's performance alone was worth the price of admission but it is admirable how Steinfeld carried the film with a strong supporting cast to hold her up. I highly recommend The Edge of Seventeen as a hidden gem of 2016.