5 things you need to know about ‘The Edge of Seventeen’

Remember high school? That bad dream you’ve been trying to forget since you graduated? TIFF selection “The Edge of Seventeen” wants to take you back there—but don’t worry, it’s a lot funnier when it’s happening to someone else. 

Nadine Byrd is a socially awkward teen with a good-looking, decidedly un-socially awkward older brother. Up until now, she’s gotten through it by revelling in her outcast status and knocking the “cool” kids alongside her uncool best friend—until said best friend and said brother begin dating… Here’s what you need to know before you see this TIFF coming-of-age comedy:

1. This is writer/director Kelly Fremon Craig’s debut feature

The “Post Grad” writer envisioned this movie as a kind of modern John Hughes-style high school comedy with a bit of an edge. 

2. For a first film, it’s got a well-established cast of stars

Hailee Steinfeld takes the lead in this one as Nadine, Woody Harrelson plays a sarcastic history teacher who’s prone to employing gallows humour on his students, and Kyra Sedgwick takes on the role of Nadine’s well-meaning but utterly unhelpful mother. 

3. Stamp this movie ‘Made in Canada’

Surrey, B.C.’s Guildford Park Secondary School stands in for the fictional Lakewood High School that is the epicentre of Nadine’s trials and tribulations. The movie also features scenes shot in and around Vancouver.  

4. That movie title should sound familiar

Kelly Fremon Craig had originally titled the movie “Besties,” but a Stevie Nicks song from the 1982 album “Bella Donna” held the key to an inspired new title. 

5. According to Hailee Steinfeld, high school is a lot like a movie set

“I remember there was one party scene,” Steinfeld told Entertainment Weekly, “where I walk in, and my brother and my best friend are hitting it off with people, and they’re having a great time. And I’m not having a bad time; I’m just feeling a little awkward and trying to talk myself into not feeling awkward… I’ve had so many of those moments, where they’ve taken place on a movie set where everybody kind of has their niche and they’ve found their groove, and I’m like, I don’t know how to make myself not look awkward right now.”
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