The teen dramedy was never really considered a genre of its own until John Hughes managed to single-handedly master it. Since his heyday, we’ve been subjected to so many teen movies, it’s hard to keep track of them all. Once in awhile they manage to still hit the bullseye, such as writer/director Kelly Fremon Craig’s hilarious The Edge of Seventeen. Providing Hailee Steinfeld a role that shows her Oscar-nominated turn in True Grit was no fluke, Seventeen also manages to wash the bad taste out of our mouths after Craig’s disastrously received Post Grad. Having learned from her mistakes, Craig proves she’s far more in touch with her teenage angst than she is with millennial entitlement.
Introvert Nadine (Steinfeld) may have always lived in the shadow of her jock older brother Darian (Blake Jenner), but she makes the most out of life with her best friend Krista (Haley Lu Richardson) by her side. That is, until Krista takes a liking to Darian, making Nadine question everything she knows about their friendship. Thankfully, Nadine has her favorite teacher Mr. Bruner (Woody Harrelson) to bitch to about how awful her life is, not realizing she’s interrupting his lunch, the one time of day he’s supposed to be able to find serenity. Nadine also begins to embark on her own sexual awakening as she maneuvers between her lovably dorky classmate Erwin (Hayden Szeto) and the older Nick (Alexander Calvert), whom she just wants to lose her virginity to.
Universal Studios brings The Edge of Seventeen to Blu-ray for STX Entertainment on a 50GB disc in its original 1.85:1 aspect ratio. Filmed digitally, the film never falters with the sometimes flat appearance digital photography offers. Detail is super sharp with colors extremely natural. Once in awhile, blacks could stand to be a little darker, but considering it would result in loss of detail, it’s a wash. There was one quick instance of banding, otherwise everything from aliasing and crush are non-existent. There is some noisy phone captured footage, but considering its source, it’s acceptable.
Where the disc is on the verge of overkill is with the 7.1 DTS-HD Master Audio track. While there are very few instances for ambience, it serves absolutely no purpose. At least it does manage to make every hilarious line of dialogue audible and when there happens to be a party scene or anything happening outside, the surrounds envelope the soundscape nicely. It’s the only audio track, but there are Spanish subtitles available.
With the film being an indie endeavor, it should come as no surprise that it is pretty scant on the special features. A “Gag Reel” (5:21) is pretty fun to watch. Mostly for the sake of seeing how much fun the cast had on set. It helps the audience believe the characters all like each other when you know the cast did too. A collection of “Deleted Scenes” comes with a play all option, even if none of them add a lot to the film as whole. Included are: “Nadine Asleep in Mr. Bruner’s Classroom” (1:53), “Mona’s Interior Monologue” (0:43), and “Nadine Needs the Bathroom Key” (1:14).
When it came time to cast our nominees for the annual Utah Film Critics Association voting, Steinfeld made it onto my ballot for Best Actress and Craig’s screenplay almost squeaked in. The Edge of Seventeen was one of the best films of 2016 which is no small feat. It may not have been a great year as a whole, but there were some fantastic films sprinkled throughout. This is definitely one of them. Filled with a charming cast and hilarious, poignant observations on teenagers, the hype was real. Seventeen fits right alongside modern teen comedy classics such as Juno. With a fantastic video/audio presentation — even if light on the special features — The Edge of Seventeen lives up to the hype and stands as one of the best comedies you might not have seen. Do yourself a favor and pick up a copy, it’s like, totally worth a blind buy.