Ste­in­feld’s angst shines in ‘The Edge of Seven­teen’ ‘Cor­duroy’ movie adap­ta­tion in works with di­rec­tor Tim Story

Kuwait Times - - LIFESTYLE -

When’s the last time you saw a truly fresh tal­ent on screen? Some­one so charis­matic that you couldn’t wait to find out who they are, what they’ve done be­fore and why you’ve never no­ticed? That’s what it feels like to watch Hay­den Szeto as the sweetly dorky love in­ter­est to Hailee Ste­in­feld’s lead in “The Edge of Seven­teen ,” a charm­ingly sar­donic com­ing-of-age story from the promis­ing wri­ter­di­rec­tor Kelly Fre­mon Craig in her fea­ture debut. There are other rea­sons to go see “The Edge of Seven­teen,” of course. Szeto, a rel­a­tive new­comer, is just one of them.

He ac­tu­ally has a fairly small part. But it’s the kind of in­tro­duc­tion to a should-be star that’s not to be missed. Also, that the small “love in­ter­est” role had such an im­pact is a tes­ta­ment to the care with which this movie was put to­gether. From the first shot of a grungy ma­roon sedan door splat­tered with mud screech­ing to a halt out­side of a high school where our hero­ine Na­dine (Ste­in­feld) in­forms her teacher (a ter­rific Woody Har­rel­son) that she plans to kill her­self, it’s clear that this is no san­i­tized high school nos­tal­gia trip. It’s a movie with a bite and one for the peo­ple who would never ac­tu­ally want to go back to that part of life.

Na­dine (Ste­in­feld) is a sar­cas­tic, of­ten in­ap­pro­pri­ate, oc­ca­sion­ally blue and per­pet­u­ally ag­grieved young woman who ex­ists on the pe­riph­eries of the high school ecosys­tem. It’s been this way since child­hood for her, and hasn’t been helped by the fact that her brother Dar­ian (Blake Jen­ner) is at the top of the so­cial lad­der. He’s hand­some and pop­u­lar and good at sports and would prob­a­bly be real an­noy­ing if it weren’t for the fact that he’s also a de­cent, kind per­son who seems to have his head on straight. But he’s the bane of Na­dine’s ex­is­tence, and just a con­sis­tent re­minder how other she is. It cer­tainly doesn’t help when her best friend Krista (Ha­ley Lu Richard­son) takes up with her brother, but that piv­otal mo­ment does send her into a story-pro­pel­ling spi­ral of ac­tion, screw-ups and self-dis­cov­ery.

Rea­son­able job

There is, of course, the per­pet­ual prob­lem in the Hol­ly­wood treat­ment of high school out­cast sto­ries whereby we’re asked to be­lieve that beau­ti­ful movie stars are ca­pa­ble of be­ing in­vis­i­ble, but “The Edge of Seven­teen” even does a rea­son­able job mak­ing us buy into Na­dine’s apart­ness. She had some un­for­tu­nate skin and hair­cuts when she was younger and never quite got com­fort­able with kids her own age. Sure, she can throw down with her mom, her brother, her teacher and her friend, but at a party with peers, she slinks out to the porch alone where another loner likens her to the Danny DeVito in “Twins.”

Ste­in­feld car­ries the movie ef­fort­lessly, walk­ing that fine line of mak­ing a some­what bratty, en­ti­tled and self­ab­sorbed char­ac­ter en­dear­ing, funny and even em­pa­thetic. Her comedic tim­ing is first-rate and rem­i­nis­cent of Emma Stone’s star-turn in “Easy A” just a few years ago. Sure, some of it is cliche, and Na­dine’s trou­bled re­la­tion­ship with her wid­owed mother (Kyra Sedg­wick) is un­der­drawn for the amount of emo­tional depth the movie seems to be want­ing the au­di­ence to glean from it. Per­haps it should have stayed lighter. But “The Edge of Seven­teen” also has enough good that it might just be­come a new clas­sic in the high school com­edy genre. “The Edge of Seven­teen,” a STX En­ter­tain­ment re­lease, is rated R by the Mo­tion Pic­ture As­so­ci­a­tion of Amer­ica for “sex­ual con­tent, lan­guage and some drink­ing - all in­volv­ing teens.” Run­ning time: 104 min­utes. Three stars out of four.

CBS Films has be­gun de­vel­op­ment on “Cor­duroy,” based on the clas­sic chil­dren’s novel, with “Ride Along” helmer Tim Story in ne­go­ti­a­tions to di­rect. Based on the Don Free­man book, the story fol­lows a depart­ment store teddy bear who goes on an ad­ven­ture to re­lo­cate his lost but­ton so that he can ul­ti­mately find the home and the friend that he’s al­ways wanted. Cor­duroy has sold tens of mil­lions of copies and is a fix­ture on “great­est chil­dren’s books” lists, among them the New York Pub­lic Li­brary’s 100 Great Chil­dren’s Books From the Last 100 Years and Par­ents Mag­a­zine’s All-Time Best Books for Chil­dren. The book has re­port­edly seen a resur­gence in re­cent years with sales ris­ing 30% since 2009.

No writer is cur­rently at­tached to project. Mark Ross and Alex Ginno are over­see­ing the project for CBS Films. Story most re­cently helmed “Ride Along 2” af­ter di­rect­ing the orig­i­nal box of­fice hit. He’s also the di­rec­tor be­hind the “Think Like the Man” fran­chise. His other cred­its in­clude “Fan­tas­tic Four,” star­ring Chris Evans, and “Bar­ber­shop.”—

Kelly Fre­mon Craig, sec­ond from right, writer/di­rec­tor of ‘Edge of Seven­teen,’ poses with cast mem­bers, from left, Blake Jen­ner, Hailee Ste­in­feld and Kyra Sedg­wick at a spe­cial screen­ing of the film at the Regal LA LIVE the­aters in Los An­ge­les.

— AP photos

This im­age re­leased by STX Films shows Hailee Ste­in­feld, left, and Woody Har­rel­son in a scene from ‘The Edge of Seven­teen.’

Tim Story

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Kuwait

© PressReader. All rights reserved.