Saturday, 3 December 2016

REVIEW - THE EDGE OF SEVENTEEN (KELLY FREMON CRAIG)


Is it because I'm close enough to seventeen as it is? The Edge of Seventeen is a rare teen movie that's probably better appreciated by those past their teen years - Kelly Fremon Craig's first film as director, and only her second as writer, captures the essence of that particular teenage ennui with an honesty striven for by few of its ilk. Maybe its revelations just weren't quite revelatory enough for me; maybe I'm in the sour spot between familiarity and nostalgia - it simply didn't quite work for me. If Fremon Craig's intentions were to expose the ugly truths behind the comfortable conventions of this genre, she succeeds only in concept. In execution, The Edge of Seventeen's balance of reliance upon and criticism of these tropes is an awkward, unfulfilling one, depriving itself of both the potential potency of its message and the easy fun upon which all teen movies are built. And yet Fremon Craig is indeed perceptive, her honesty bolstered by the accuracy of her portrayal of life for a 17-year-old young woman, whom one might describe as troubled, though arguably no more so than most others of her age. The visuals are pedestrian, but the dialogue is sharp and pleasantly unfiltered, and the cast evidently relishes the opportunity to inhabit characters they've likely known before, but never with this level of depth. It's such intelligent details that make Fremon Craig a filmmaker to watch in future, even if her debut is, on the whole, a film to sit out.