Edge of Seventeen (2016)

When I randomly clicked on this movie on my personal TV on the flight back from vacation, I didn’t expect to be rewarded with such a touching, realistic picture. Edge of Seventeen is a coming-of-age movie centered on Nadine Franklin, who suffers from depression after the death of her father. It is a fresh yet down-to-earth film that depicts a very relatable character, one whom we can empathize with.

By age seven, Nadine’s (Hailee Steinfeld) family begins to drift apart. There are vast differences between her and her brother: while her brother is good-looking, open, and popular, Nadine is dorky, shy, and closed off. Nadine’s mother Mona clearly prefers her brother Darian over her, and Nadine’s only allies are her father and her best friend Krista, whom she meets on the playground one day.

At age thirteen, however, her dad passes away from a heart attack when he and Nadine are driving in the car, eating fast food.

One night when Nadine and Krista are both seventeen, they decide to get drunk, and Nadine feels betrayed when she finds her best friend in bed with her brother. Darian and Krista strike up a relationship, leaving Nadine feeling alone. She continues to wallow in her self-hatred, but there are people in her life willing to be her allies. And gradually, with their help, she begins to open up for the first time in her life.

Hailee Steinfeld’s brilliant performance only makes this movie all the more touching. It is shockingly realistic, with an extremely relatable character who struggles through the same emotional turmoils that we often deal with ourselves. We all have our own fair share of problems, and we must never learn to judge others until we know the full story– Nadine’s mother, Mona, disliked her own daughter because she couldn’t understand her– because she didn’t know the suffering Nadine went through after her father’s death.

Edge of Seventeen shows that there are people in the world willing to help– and that, despite the darkness that may plague our lives everyday, we must constantly reach for the light that is within ourselves that that is within our friends.