MOVIE REVIEW: The Edge of Seventeen
THE transition from adolescence to adulthood can be a tricky one.
It's downright traumatic for Nadine, a socially awkward 16-year-old whose life hasn't been the same since the sudden death of her father.
Everyone probably knows someone like Nadine - outwardly confident and talkative, but inwardly insecure and anxious.
Already feeling isolated from her seemingly perfect older brother Darian (Blake Jenner) and her self-centred mother Mona (Kyra Sedgwick), Nadine's sanity is tied to her best and only true friend Krista (Haley Lu Richardson).
But their relationship is thrown into disarray when Nadine, in a hilariously cringe-worthy scene, discovers Krista hooking up with Darian.
What follows is an escalating series of coping mechanisms and cases of 'acting out' on behalf of Nadine as she makes some classic, and predictable, teenage mistakes.
With no one else to confide in, Nadine unloads her emotional baggage on her uninterested history teacher Mr Bruner (Woody Harrelson) who doesn't exactly offer many sage words of wisdom.
Harrelson is a treat as the laid-back teacher who just wants to enjoy his lunch break in peace.
A surprise source of comedy gold is newcomer Hayden Szeto as Erwin, the academic achiever who melts into a babbling puddle whenever he tries to ask Nadine out.
His sweet awkwardness and his ability to see past Nadine's neuroticisms act as sources of light and hope in the story's darkest moments.
Dubbed the Juno for a new generation, The Edge of Seventeen is laugh-out-loud funny and feels like a fresh take on the teen angst genre despite some predictable plot points.
I wouldn't go so far as to say it's as insightful or deep as Juno, but it's the type of film that will help teens feel like they're not alone in their daily struggles.
The Edge of Seventeen
Stars: Hailee Steinfeld, Woody Harrelson, Blake Jenner, Haley Lu Richardson, Kyra Sedgwick, Hayden Szeto.
Director: Kelly Fremon Craig
Verdict: 4/5 stars