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EDGE OF SEVENTEEN

SYNOPSIS:
Itís 1984 in suburban Ohio and Eric (Chris Stafford) has just turned 17. Heís an average adolescent who loves music (The Eurhythmics, The Bronski Beat) and his girlfriend Maggie (Tina Holmes). Ericís about to go to college, and earns money flipping burgers at an amusement park. The manager, Angie (Lea Delaria), is a softhearted cross-dressing lesbian, and Rod (Anderson Gadrych), a hunky blond co-flipper, is an openly gay freshman at Ohio State. When Rod kisses him, Eric starts frequenting Angieís local gay bar, Universal Fruits and Nuts. Soon Eric is bleaching his hair, experimenting with mascara, and liking the androgynous New Wave Boy George look. It naturally alienates him from his friends and family. As Eric slowly accepts his emerging sexuality, he faces the inevitable confrontations of coming-out.

"Thereís been a fair amount of praise for this tender coming-of-age / coming-out story from the American Midwest. Indeed, debut director David Moreton and writer Todd Stephens, taking a few cues from the British films, Beautiful Thing and Get Real, have nailed the strange, scary, awkward world of fledgling gay adolescence. We are right there with Eric from his first experiments to his pivotal encounters. We feel for his caring mom and his innocent-bystander girlfriend. The scenes of Ericís first attempts with gay sex are excruciatingly real in their depiction of the situationís mutual clumsiness and eroticism. Thereís not much more to Edge of Seventeen than we've witnessed in other coming-out films. Thereís the slow slide into sexual experimentation, the overbearing mom, the caught-in-the-middle girlfriend, the colourfully dressed gay folk, and the frightening first encounters. The point is the filmmakers handle delicate if unoriginal material extraordinarily well, never degrading the film with outrageously camp lines or scenes but evincing a sincerity and tenderness so rarely seen in film today. The only discernable difference here is the period: the mid 80s of awful pop music and cringe-inducing fashion. Ericís hair and make-up is also just fab. Itís all pretty real here, and draws wellsprings of empathy for this troubled teen. As Eric, Chris Stafford is a real find, displaying a perfect evolution from gawky teen to angst-ridden passionate young man. Stafford is ably supported by his cuddly mom (Stephanie McVay), various toy-boys, and some colourful gay-club gals. No drag queens in the desert here. Edge of Seventeen resonates with that simultaneous feeling of pleasure and pain in being gay, giving the average hetero the closest insight into coming out, and the average homosexual tears of serendipitous joy."
Shannon J Harvey

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CRITICAL COUNT
Favourable: 1
Unfavourable: 0
Mixed: 0

SOFCOM MOVIE TIMES

EDGE OF SEVENTEEN (MA)
(US)

CAST: Chris Stafford, Tina Holmes, Andersen Gabrych, Stephanie McVay

PRODUCERS: David Moreton, Todd Stephens

DIRECTOR: David Moreton

SCRIPT: Todd Stephens

CINEMATOGRAPHER: Gina Degirolamo

EDITOR: Tal Ben-David

MUSIC: Tom Bailey

PRODUCTION DESIGN: Ivor Stilin

RUNNING TIME: 99 minutes

AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Potential

AUSTRALIAN RELEASE DATES:
Sydney & Brisbane: April 20, 2000;
Melbourne: June 1
Perth: June 29
Adelaide: July 20







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