The Edge of Character Development

Another movie I saw recently is The Edge of Seventeen. I had to wait until after it came out on DVD because it wasn’t in any theaters near me, but I think it was worth it.

The Edge of Seventeen follows Nadine Franklin, a junior in high school, who is socially awkward, ostracized by her peers, and is nothing like her charismatic, popular brother who is obviously loved more by her mother.

The film begins with her storming into her teacher who she trusts’s classroom, saying she’s going to kill herself and she thought an adult should know. We then quickly jump into the moments leading up to her saying this to her teacher, where we learn how she ended up in this situation.tumblr_oaf4moAKNg1tamedoo1_250.gif

Her father, with whom she had a close relationship, died unexpectedly in front of her a few years prior and then her only friend starts dating her brother, ditching her for the “cool” kids.

Throughout the course of the movie, I think that Nadine has an epiphany and goes through a complete character change and the perspective it’s told in makes that transformation even stronger. By having the entire film from her point of view, like being first person if it were a book, the viewers see things the exact same way Nadine does, making it why it’s as relatable as it is.

Her character has a unique, but familiar voice that I know resonate with.

tumblr_okuzl6xezk1v4a8wfo1_500At the end, we see the situation of other characters from more of a third person kind of perspective. Viewers may not have previously thought about the situations of other characters because they were so wrapped up in Nadine’s drama. By the end, we learn that sarcastic, rude teacher Mr. Bruner is actually married, has a young son, and is a loving husband and father. Not something I would’ve expected by the way we see him through Nadine’s eyes.

Similarly, her brother Darian. We only really have this view of him as an arrogant, perfect, larger-than-life kind of guy who has everything going for him, but then we’re forced to see him in a new life when he finally confronts Nadine. We then realize he actually isn’t perfect, the weight his mother puts on him to be the father figure is killing him, as much as he can’t apply to out-of-state colleges because he fears something bad will happen while he’s gone. In addition to that, we see how much it hurts him to know he can’t be with Krista, Nadine’s former best friend, who he loves, without destroying Nadine in the process.

Prior to this, we never would’ve known this information until we, along with Nadine, stepped out of that self-absorbed bubble. Like many teens, we focus on ourselves because we are the priority. Atumblr_okx31nvxju1qfnjdfo1_500s Nadine said, a lot of us think that our problems are the most important and I think that’s what makes her a relatable character for a high school and teen audience. Through the help of her mentor and a newfound friend, Erwin, Nadine learns to see things from the perspectives of others, and that’s when she realized how narrow-minded she was being. She was so wrapped up in her own issues, she didn’t know anything about Erwin, like that he was making a short film or that his parents are rich and aren’t around a lot. From the beginning, she only saw situations how they affected her, like the death of her father, and not her mother and brother.

By the end of the film, Nadine is forced out of this mindset and sees the world without just herself. The main characters, particularly Nadine, undergo considerable change. I think something important to take away from watching this film is that the characters you see at the end are very different from their surface personality. By overcoming their personal challenges and issues, they grow into stronger characters.


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