Robin, Noah (coincidentally 17), and I all agree that this is a terrific movie! I rank it right up there with the great high school classics like “The Breakfast Club,” “Ferris Beuller’s Day Off,” and “Risky Business.” It’s written and directed by Kelly Fremon Craig and is a MUST SEE!
Nadine Byrd (Hailee Steinfeld) is a Junior in high school. She has been having a difficult time ever since she was a child, and it’s only gotten worse over time. Her only sibling, her older brother Darian (Blake Jenner), in contrast, has always been a star. He is very handsome, smart, popular, and mom (Kyra Sedgwick)’s favorite. Nadine is even smarter, but she doesn’t have cheerleader looks. She isn’t even very likable, partly because she is often viciously sarcastic. Fortunately, she has one very close friend, Krista (Haley Lu Richardson), with whom she shares her misery. Due to her social isolation, Nadine sometimes eats her lunch in her history teacher’s classroom (Mr. Bruner – Woody Harrelson), venting her teen-age angst to him, but empathy isn’t his strong suit. (Many of their conversations are extremely funny.)
A good-looking Asian classmate, Erwin (Hayden Szeto) is attracted to and interested in Nadine, but she has her romantic hopes fixated on someone else. A situation occurs that psychologically traumatizes Nadine and sends her reeling into intense teen-age crises, involving identity, family, friendship, and sexuality. Nadine’s turmoil is as realistically portrayed and as intelligently written as any film I’ve seen in the past few years! Hailee Steinfeld is fantastic and she deserves an Academy Award nomination.
It’s probably the funniest movie of the year, but the seriousness of the themes and the film’s realism and depth make it more of a drama than a comedy. I’d make sure to see it this weekend because it may not be playing in the theaters much longer. Unless about five great movies are released in December, this film will be in my Top 10!