I haven’t been watching too many new releases lately, and as a result, I’m woefully behind on having any awareness of the films that have been nominated for Oscars this year. I have, however, seen two new films recently, and thought I would compile them into one post – two films, two reviews consisting of one single paragraph. The Edge of Seventeen and Moonlight have similar themes about the generally tumultuous period of adolescent development, but are completely different films. Just how different? Read on!
The Edge of Seventeen (2016)
High school life gets even more unbearable for Nadine when her best friend, Krista, starts dating her older brother. (source)
I really enjoyed this one. The Edge of Seventeen is one of those classic, ‘angsty teen’ genre films that gets it right as opposed to fermenting in the purely cheesy tropes that so many other films in the teen genre suffer from. It feels authentic, like a genuine portrayal of super awkward adolescence, and confronts some of the typical conundrums of that age in a way that doesn’t feel preachy or exploitative. I initially thought Hailee Steinfeld’s character, Nadine, was quite unlikeable – however I soon realised that Steinfeld was actually giving a pretty spot-on performance as a self-involved, dramatic adolescent female who has more than her fair share of difficulties, which was somewhat impressive. Woody Harrelson is also a highlight as a crotchety high school teacher with a heart of gold, but Hayden Szeto steals the show as Nadine’s creative and lovelorn friend Erwin. The Edge of Seventeen is a simple film with a nice message at the end, a sharp and ironic sense of humour, and a great script. It might provide some nice levity in comparison with the other dramas that are on at the cinema at the moment.
Is it worth paying for a ticket?: It’s not a bad one to see at the cinema, if you don’t feel like watching one of the Oscar dramas.
Watch the trailer here.
A timeless story of human self-discovery and connection, Moonlight chronicles the life of a young black man from childhood to adulthood as he struggles to find his place in the world while growing up in a rough neighborhood of Miami. (source)
This is a beautiful film. Most recently the accurate winner of a Best Picture Oscar, Moonlight is one of those films that will stick in your mind for days afterwards, if not weeks – for all the right reasons. I’ve been reflecting on this film constantly since I saw it. The direction by Barry Jenkins is flawless, the cinematography by James Laxton is perfection, and the ensemble cast is nothing short of amazing. Alex Hibbert, Ashton Sanders, and Trevante Rhodes all play the role of Chiron across three stages in his life, and although the three actors don’t really look alike, the performances are so strong that you do believe you’re watching the same person at different points in his life span. But above all, this is a story we hardly ever see – a story about the intersection between race, culture, masculinity, and sexuality. The story is told with conviction, in such an honest and unflinching manner, giving its viewers just the right amount of quiet moments to reflect and recover from some of its more brutal moments. Moonlight is quite simply important and essential viewing, and is deserving of the highest of praise.
Is it worth paying for a ticket?: Absolutely, yes.
Watch the trailer here.