Stars: Hailee Steinfeld, Woody Harrelson, Haley Lu Richardson, Blake Jenner, Kyra Sedgwick, Hayden Szeto, Alexander Calvert, Eric Keenleyside, Lina Renna, Christian Michael Cooper, Ava Grace Cooper.
Director: Kelly Fremon Craig
Screenplay: Kelly Fremon Craig
A movie about being 17, it may not be what your 17th year was but I am sure we can all find something here that is too eerily accurate to admit. Nadine Byrd (Hailee Steinfeld) is a teen who is too witty for her own good. Because of this she only has one friend, Krista (Haley Lu Richardson) and interrupts her teachers one half hour of peace every lunchtime—played exactly how you'd expect by Woody Harrelson—to talk his ear off about her problems. Sure she doesn't have the best teenage life but its pretty steady so she can't complain. That is until Krista starts to date Nadine's brother, Darian (Blake Jenner) and her sand castle stability starts to crumble.
This film has the quirky dialogue delivered by its quirky character. Steinfeld was the perfect choice for said character because she has all the elements to pull it off, however it feels as though she pulls it off too well. Like her lines are too well delivered, it just feels a little too well done to be natural, like how Atonement by Joe Wright feels too rehearsed that there is no life to it. The interactions between Harrelson and Steinfeld immediately feel stale because of the too well rehearsed delivery.
What I do like are Nadine's side stories and how relatable or realistic they are. There is this one guy, Erwin (Hayden Szeto) who has this huge crush on her, and though she knows it Nadine isn't quite as keen on him—even if he is the most adorable guy like ever. Instead she is fixated on this bad boy, Nick (Alexander Calvert) who she has been hoping will notice her at some point and she could have the love affair she has been fantasising about all year. Its these storylines that allow you to feel that she is still a teenager, still stuck with a crush while another has a crush on her. Also I really like Blake Jenner in this film, it is a more subtle performance than what we got from him in Everybody Wants Some!! and I think these are the roles that I can see him in later in his career.
This is a nice film but one I feel as though I have seen a few too many times. The charm is slightly too thin and the attempt at depth is a little too lost, but overall it is a fun watch.