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The Edge of Seventeen: Blu-ray + DVD + Digital HD Review

The Edge of Seventeen (2016) movie poster The Edge of Seventeen

Theatrical Release: November 18, 2016 / Running Time: 105 Minutes / Rating: R

Writer/Director: Kelly Fremon Craig

Cast: Hailee Steinfeld (Nadine Franklin), Woody Harrelson (Mr. Bruner), Kyra Sedgwick (Mona Franklin), Haley Lu Richardson (Krista), Blake Jenner (Darian Franklin), Hayden Szeto (Erwin Kim), Alexander Calvert (Nick Mossman), Eric Keenleyside (Tom Franklin), Nesta Cooper (Shannon), Daniel Bacon (M.C.), Lina Renna (Young Nadine), Ava Grace Cooper (Young Krista), Christian Michael Cooper (Young Darian)

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The high school movie is as old and abundant as most genres in Hollywood, but it is not subjected to the same limitations and overly familiar tropes. Almost everyone gets to be a teenager at some point and almost all of them get to experience high school.
But just as no two high school experiences are alike, no two high school depictions are exactly alike. It's not as if because you've seen Clueless, you know just how Superbad will play out. When done right, as is often the case, an entry to the genre is more "a movie about high schoolers" than a "high school movie." Though its marketing may not have convinced you, The Edge of Seventeen is done right.

This original dramedy from first-time director, second-time writer Kelly Fremon Craig (picking up her first screen credit since scripting the 2009 Alexis Bledel vehicle Post Grad) centers on Nadine Franklin (Hailee Steinfeld, extending the career that began with an Academy Award-nominated turn in True Grit at age 13), a junior at Lakewood High School. From a young age, Nadine has been a social outcast, who has never had the confidence or popularity of her good-looking barely older brother Darian (Blake Jenner). Nadine has gotten by on a single, enduring friendship with Krista (Haley Lu Richardson) and reassurance from her beloved father (Eric Keenleyside). The latter ended when her Dad suddenly died a few years ago. Now, Nadine continues to butt heads with her mother (Kyra Sedgwick), with whom she has historically clashed.

"The Edge of Seventeen" stars Hailee Steinfeld as socially outcast high school junior Nadine Franklin.

Nadine's life grows complicated when Krista hooks up with Darian. When the two begin dating, Nadine doesn't want anything to do with either her best friend or her brother. Nadine regularly interrupts the lunch break of her history teacher Mr. Bruner (an excellent Woody Harrelson), who is largely unmoved by her cries for attention and suicidal vows.

Edge of Seventeen offers more of a slice of life than a synopsizable plot. Nadine messages and regrets a crush who's barely noticed her. And she starts spending some time with a perpetually nervous Korean classmate (Hayden Szeto) who seems very into her.

Though Edge is rated R and features some raunchy content that comprised its unappealing red band trailers, it is very much in the tradition of John Hughes' teen movies, Sixteen Candles most of all. Craig doesn't ape or rip off Hughes; she just puts the same effort into developing three-dimensional characters with relatable voices, feelings, issues, and family lives. That's really all you need to ensure a good movie, which makes you wonder why other screenwriters and directors so often give us something less than genuinely good.

Nadine (Hailee Steinfeld) brings her problems to history teacher Mr. Bruner (Woody Harrelson), who doesn't seem to care about them too much.

Of course, while there may be some glory in honest storytelling (like 95% approval ratings from both top and all critics at Rotten Tomatoes), there's more money in other types of cinema. All of Edge's critical acclaim could not help it find a huge audience in a fairly sizable release of nearly 2,000 theaters.
The film opened in seventh place and could barely triple its modest opening weekend gross for a domestic take of $14.4 million. With a budget of just $9 million, it was no bomb, but it also isn't going to be in the green anytime soon after accounting for its costs.

Though high school movies often rank among people's personal favorites, even well-reviewed entries in this genre rarely factor into any major awards races. Edge of Seventeen garnered one Golden Globe nomination, with Steinfeld cracking the usually pretty shallow category of Best Actress in a Comedy or Musical. That bid, which naturally resulted in a loss to La La Land's Emma Stone, meant Edge matched the Globes tally of Election, Rushmore, Easy A, and Ferris Bueller's Day Off, all of which also lost to their Globes competition.

Edge of Seventeen gets another shot at finding an audience today with Universal bringing this STX Entertainment production to Blu-ray combo pack and DVD with a cover proclaiming it "one of the best reviewed comedies of all time."

The Edge of Seventeen: Blu-ray + DVD + Digital HD cover art - click to buy from Amazon.com Blu-ray & DVD Details

1.85:1 Widescreen (DVD Anamorphic)
Blu-ray: 7.1 DTS-HD MA (English), Dolby Surround 2.0 (Descriptive Service)
DVD: Dolby Digital 5.1 (English), Dolby Surround 2.0 (Descriptive Video Service)
Subtitles: English for Hearing Impaired, Spanish
Extras Subtitled; Not Closed Captioned
Release Date: February 14, 2017
Suggested Retail Price: $34.98
Two single-sided, dual-layered discs (DVD-9 & BD-50)
Blue Keepcase in Embossed Cardboard Slipcover
Also available as standalone DVD ($29.98 SRP) and on Amazon Instant Video

VIDEO and AUDIO

Utilizing the 1.85:1 aspect ratio, The Edge of Seventeen nearly fills a 16:9 screen and looks terrific in the process, boasting the sharpness and clarity that we take for granted on Blu-ray releases of new films. The film gets a 7.1 DTS-HD master audio soundtrack, which is kind of surprising. It doesn't really do a whole lot with the rear channels, apart from some subtle buzzing I noticed and almost deducted points for.

Woody Harrelson gets the giggles in the gag reel. Mom (Kyra Sedgwick) shares what should be an inner monologue in this deleted scene.

BONUS FEATURES, MENUS, PACKAGING and DESIGN

The Edge of Seventeen is joined by two types of extras on each disc.

First up is a gag reel (5:21) collecting contagious laughs, bloopers, and ad libs profane or otherwise.

Next, we get a section of three short deleted scenes (4:03). These supply an additional Nadine/Mr. Bruner exchange, another small spat between Nadine and her mother, and the explanation of how Nadine got into the clearly not-for-customers TCBY bathroom.

The discs open with a parade of (mostly short) trailers for The Space Between Us, The Bye Bye Man, A Monster Calls, Loving, Priceless, Nocturnal Animals, Frank & Lola, and Bleed for This. With the exception of the full Bye Bye Man trailer (and Space Between Us on DVD), each preview runs just 30 seconds. None are accessible by menu and Edge of Seventeen's own off-putting previews are not included here at all.

The menu loops a montage of clips, over which the listings are placed.

The two plain discs share an eco-friendly keepcase with a Digital HD insert. The keepcase is topped by an embossed slipcover.

Nadine (Hailee Steinfeld) shares an awkward Ferris wheel ride with the always-nervous Erwin (Hayden Szeto).

CLOSING THOUGHTS

Sharp, funny, and sympathetic to the roller coaster of emotions that is adolescence, The Edge of Seventeen is an appealing human dramedy that anyone who is or has been a teenager should appreciate. Universal's combo pack is very basic but satisfying.

Buy The Edge of Seventeen from Amazon.com: Blu-ray + DVD + Digital HD / DVD / Instant Video

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Reviewed February 14, 2017.



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