Movies rarely pull on my heart-strings. Truthfully, I have never been a fan of sappy chick flicks. But last night, I decided to see The Edge of Seventeen with a couple of friends and wow, I was in for a rollercoaster ride of emotions and realizations.
I will not give the entire movie away, but here is a quick synopsis. The movie is about your average seventeen-year-old girl, Nadine, who is trying to make it through high school after being hit with struggle after struggle. Nadine’s best friend (and only friend) begins dating Nadine’s older brother who certainly seems to have it all. Nadine’s mother does not understand Nadine and continuously blames Nadine for being so difficult and hard to read. Nadine ignores the boy who adores her and chases after the boy who will only bring her pain. Nadine’s father is not present in her life, which makes this journey through high school even more troublesome. Ultimately, Nadine reaches a point where she feels completely alone and hates who she is. Her entire world has collapsed and she has no one to confide in or assure her that everything will be okay. She cannot explain why she is lashing out and acting in these ways as she watches her life fall apart with no way to stop it.
Now, the majority of this is in the trailer, so I really did not spoil much for you. I will say this though– the movie had a happy ending, but not one of those predictable, cheesy endings. The Edge of Seventeen is a comedy, which made it so much more enjoyable than those depressing chick flicks. I laughed (a lot) and honestly, my eyes welled with tears as I related to Nadine’s hardships and pain. She tried to keep it in for so long and embrace her uniqueness, but that is so tough to do when everyone is telling you to be someone you’re not. Nadine was not the only one going through difficulties, her brother was too, but he hid it well until he reached his breaking point.
The Edge of Seventeen truly captured what it is like to be a seventeen-year-old journeying through some of the most challenging years of life. High school is a crucial time when everyone wants to conform to avoid standing out in the crowd. Nadine knew she was born to stand out sooner than most teens, which is something I envied about her. Nadine was honest with herself and others, and most importantly, she was real. She embraced her old soul until her entire world fell apart and she was forced to piece it back together. It got me thinking that maybe, it is good to feel like you are at rock bottom as a seventeen-year-old. Maybe, it is crucial to reach that point of a mental breakdown, the point in which you let yourself fall apart, so you can pick up the pieces and start over. The Edge of Seventeen conveyed a truth that is universally ignored, so it resonates in a way different from most movies. Teenagers get hit with a lot of crap (for lack of a better term) and are expected to accept it and move on. In reality, burying the pain deep inside causes more conflict and distress than just expressing it.
The Edge of Seventeen gets it. Teenagers will pretend everything is fine until they hit rock bottom and cannot pretend any longer. Once the smoke has cleared and they can finally get back on their feet, they are not the same person they once were. Through heartbreak and hardships, teens learn from their own personal experiences and can then choose to embrace who they really are. Whether you are an adult or you are seventeen now, you know what it is like to go through the hardest of times and make it out alive. This movie really brought it all together for me. We, seventeen-year-olds, are not alone. Even though we may not show it, we are each going through different things that are unimaginable and unnoticeable to others. So, be kind to everyone and sensitive to their emotions too. It may feel like the end of the world, but how we bounce back and find our true selves in the midst of everything is worth the battle. What matters is moving past the edge and knowing that things can only get better from there.