This film’s protagonist is definitely not a “typical teen” dealing with the pains of becoming an adult.
I decided to revisit writer-director Kelly Fremon Craig’s 2016 film The Edge of Seventeen, since it appeared on Netflix earlier this year. My review of The Edge of Seventeen is one of my most popular, for reasons I don’t fully understand. Then again, I think I missed the point of this movie as well, since it has near-universally high ratings from both critics and audiences, and I thought it was eye-rollingly cliche and annoying.
What I suspect draws people to my review is my theory that the main character, Nadine, is suffering from borderline personality disorder. It seems fairly obvious, and I wonder whether this was intentional. Since writing my review, I’ve received feedback from readers who are familiar with BPD and share my suspicions.
In case you haven’t seen the film, The Edge of Seventeen is about an awkward teenage girl, Nadine Byrd (Hailee Steinfeld), who experiences a crisis when her best friend, Krista (Haley Lu Richardson), starts dating her brother, Darian (Blake Jenner). Her relationship with her mother, Mona (Kyra Sedgwick), deteriorates as Nadine vents her frustration on friends, family, and even her cynical history teacher, Mr. Bruner (Woody Harrelson). The cloud has a silver lining when she meets a similarly awkward young man, Erwin (Hayden Szeto).
I’ve read several interviews with writer-director Kelly Fremon Craig in which she explains her film is about authentically capturing teenage angst and relationships (I’ll explain why this doesn’t hold water later), but I suspect there’s something she’s not telling us.