Hailee Steinfeld really shines in this coming of age tale about a teenager going through a rough patch of her life when everything seems like they are against her. The struggles of being a teenager in high school are very real in this film. There are some great performances by Steinfeld, Kyra Sedgwick and Woody Harrelson. Hailee Steinfeld is an actress/singer that I haven’t seen her in too many films, I mostly know for her singing career. She impressed me with this film on her range with this character. I’m looking forward to see what she does next.
The plot is pretty straightforward and predictable at points But that doesn’t hurt the film overall. The film is quite charming with its characters and how well they are written and acted on screen. The character of Nadine is portrayed as a teenager who feels like an old soul but is in modern times. Yes, she does have modern day problems involving social media stalking and an infinity to be the center of attention, but at her core she just wants to matter and to have things feel not only normal but to work in her favor. Though her given situation with her best friend and her brother aren’t great when they start to date in the beginning of the film. The relationship between those characters becomes more interesting over the course of the film with that plot point.
Her best friend doesn’t have too much to do in the film. I wished that they would have had more time of them together than through montages at the beginning to show that bond of their long relationship. It would helped that decision for her to date her brother less of an afterthought. Her brother played by Blake Jenner has a solid arc in the film. By the end of the film they felt more like brother and sister than just actors playing their part. I felt there could have been done more to enhance their relationship. Also the film was directed and written by a woman (Kelly Fremon Craig). It’s good that there are more female voices showcasing their ability to make great stories out there in the film industry. Kelly Fremon Craig nailed the tone of a”John Hughes”-esque vibe for a true coming to age tale.
“Failure simply means you tried.”
My only negatives with the film is that sometimes they took Hailee’s character Nadine to the point of almost being unlikeable. Though her performance is very charismatic, the actions she takes are dramatic like a teenager — it just feels like the script is pushing your ability to like this character based on their actions. Of course, after the loss of a parent it is hard to adapt to have some sort of normalcy — but no one is truly normal.