Set in 1984 in Sandusky, Ohio, "Edge of Seventeen" follows the coming-out of a naive 17-year-old teenager at exactly the moment when gender-bending pop stars like Boy George and Annie Lennox of the Eurythmics were flauntin... more »g androgynous images. As the youth, played with a heartbreaking sweetness by Chris Stafford, goes through his first rites of gay passage (after being callously used by the slightly older boy who brings him out, he tries to retreat to heterosexuality with his closest female friend) he emerges as a poignant gay everyman. Lea DeLaria is wonderful as his butch lesbian boss at the amusement park restaurant where he meets his first boyfriend.« less
Jon Rydin | Chicago, IL United States | 09/24/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Yes... it's another "coming out" movie. Luckily, this one stands out from the crowd -- thanks to great performances and an honest and sensitive portrayal.It's 1984 in Sandusky, Ohio... 17-year-old Eric (Stafford) finishes his junior year at high school and takes a summer job serving food at the local amusement park, along with his best friend Maggie (Holmes). There he meets openly gay Rod (Gabrych), who sets Eric off on his road to realizing his budding homosexuality.The movie does an excellent job of showing the truthful highs & lows of coming out in your teens. In Eric's discovery, he has his first and several gay sexual experiences (and mistakes that sex for love), goes to his first gay bar, silently deals with the "queer" name calling by his classmates, hides his sexuality from his family, & sleeps with and then alienates his best female friend... all while morphing from a "nerd" into an eccentric dressing, hair-dyed 80's new wave child in his attempt to become individual. The results are honest, funny, heartfelt, and displayed with an unexpected sexual candor.The cast is absolutely fantastic. The real stand-out is Chris Stafford, who plays Eric as a sweetly naive young man without becoming sappy. Tina Holmes is great as Maggie, giving a wonderful performance of someone torn between love and then hate. Stephanie McVay plays Eric's sweet & headstrong Mom, and gives her character emotional depth (especially when Eric finally admits his homosexuality). Best of all, Lea Delaria is an absolute treat as the summer job boss and local gay bar owner that turns into the friend & tour guide we all wish we had when coming out.Accompanied by a terrific soundtrack featuring Bronski Beat, the Eurythmics, and the Thompson Twins (for all you Twins' lovers, frontman Tom Bailey composed the score!), this movie wins on all points. I think you'll greatly enjoy it and ask for a repeat viewing... especially if your life often mirrored it, like some anonymous reviewer."
A Beautiful Thing? Get Real! Great gay-teen themed flick!
ILuvFilm | Reisterstown, MD USA | 06/27/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Edge of Seventeen is a wonderfully realized coming-of-age film about the one teen trauma John Hughes never touched: coming out. To start with, the soundtrack is nothing short of spectacular for 80s nostalgia enthusiasts. And the costuming is eerily authentic (rumor has it that the screenwriter ransacked his own home closet to find his 80s club duds). Passing the fact that David Morton has managed to capture the feel of a Hughes teen flick (down to the great opening credits); the performances are the high point here. Chris Stafford will steal every gay Gen-Xers heart; both because he's adorably snuggleable without being implausably beautiful, and because playing a 16-yr old from the mid-80s, he's a stand-in for all of us who WISH we'd had the guts to go after the cute blond boy from our summer job (Anderson Gabrych). Of particular note is Lea Delaria supporting turn as the dyke den-momma; who provides the best possible example for how queer adults should treat queer kids. This is a film that's full of great moments (mostly dominated by Stafford), including a "first-time" love scene that will leave you twitchy with anticipation, and a rimming scene (move over, "Queer as Folk") that will have you rolling off the couch with laughter. Best of all is the fact that for a US-made gay-teen themed film, the plot finally seems to break past the level of "Afterschool Special;" enough for me to rank it above such gay film favorites as "Beautiful Thing" and "Get Real." For American queerboys who came of age in the 80s, this is as real as it gets (or as close to what we wanted in our teen years as we'll find now.) It's a must-have for your collection."
Sweet, Charming, and Honest Queer Film
littleghost | Los Angeles, California United States | 01/27/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
""Edge of Seventeen" is for all of us who grew up gay in the 80's. This movie hits the bull's eye when it comes to capturing the nuances of the summer of 1984. If you remember listening to Eurythmics and the Thompson Twins and the whole "Second British Invasion," then you will relate to Eric and the soundtrack to his adolescence. The songs selected here evoke the emotions that Eric is going through: excitement, naivete, and a hint of melancholy underneath. It's surprising that this movie was made in 1999... you'd almost think it was filmed in the summer of 1984. Eric's journey out of the closet is a sweet and unapologetic one. Granted, the plot of the hip older guy leading the ingenue into his first taste of love and loss is not new, but the actor who portrays Eric gives a performance so honest that it's hard to believe he is acting. This is someone with good eye for detail... from his Tom Bailey haircut to the lost look in his eyes when Rod disillusions him... he really gets it right. And the scene where he comes out of the closet to his mother and pleads with her ("Look at me. Look at me.") is heart-melting."
Classy 'coming out' drama
Libretio | 08/22/2000
(3 out of 5 stars)
EDGE OF SEVENTEEN
(USA - 1998)
Aspect ratio: 1.85:1 Theatrical soundtrack: Dolby Stereo SR
The age-old dilemma of gay teens and the reactions of their friends and families is given another (welcome) work-out in David Moreton's refreshingly candid EDGE OF SEVENTEEN, a painfully accurate portrayal of a young guy stumbling awkwardly out of the closet and realising that the so-called 'limitless' possibilities of youth aren't so limitless after all.
Though the theme is familiar, "Edge" is distinguished by its no-frills direction, heartfelt script and, especially, an astonishingly accomplished performance by Chris Stafford. He plays Eric, a 17 year old high school student in Ohio, circa 1984, who can't begin to lay the foundations of his adult life until he's come to terms with his emerging sexuality. Intrigued by an openly gay workmate (Andersen Gabrych) at the diner where they both work after school, Eric finally plucks up the courage to explore his true self, guided by the diner's matriarchal lesbian owner (Lea DeLaria, playing substitute mother to a predominantly young cast), only to discover that people aren't always what they seem.
For such a young actor, Stafford is breathtakingly good as the teenager both excited and terrified by the strange directions in which his life is pulling him. Todd Stephens' script captures the highs and lows of first love and rejection, and Stafford plays it with just the right amount of charm and naivety. Perhaps director Moreton could have beefed up some of the dramatic fireworks which dominate the second half of the picture, (SPOILER ALERT) notably Eric's confession to a close female friend (Tina Holmes) who secretly loves him and is crushed by his revelation, and the heartbreaking moment when Eric finally comes out to his mother (Stephanie McVay) (END OF SPOILER), though these scenes still retain much of their impact and are extremely well-acted by all concerned.
Some viewers have complained that the movie ends too abruptly, with many of Eric's problems unresolved. But if the film has any message at all, it's that few people reach the end of the rainbow, and sometimes it can take a lifetime to resolve the worst of our difficulties, if at all. The story ends with Eric at an emotional crossroads, which is the only place where such an honest film could possibly conclude. "
"Edge of Seventeen" - An Evocative, Graceful Film
Annette L. Munson | 09/25/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Released nationwide in 1999 after an initial, limited run in 1998, "Edge of Seventeen" is a beautiful, haunting, and thought-provoking film that speaks eloquently to all of us - no matter what gender and/or sexual orientation we may be. Hard-core denizens of the Religious Right won't enjoy this lovely film. As did "It's In the Water" a year earlier, "Edge" boasts a bevy of intriguing, sympathetic characters. The film's two standout performances are Chris Stafford's deft and sensitive portrayal of Eric, a 17-year-old high school student who struggles to come to terms with his sexual orientation in 1980s' Sandusky, Ohio - and Lea DeLaria's presentation of Angie, Eric's mentor and boss. DeLaria is bawdy, beautiful, witty, and bodacious. Her skillful performance adds a grateful mixture of humor and compassion, and it is a perfect complement to Stafford's sweetly textured Eric. Also deserving of honorable mention is Andersen Gabrych's excellent portrayal of Rod, a callous, opportunistic, inordinately handsome user who brings out the vulnerable and trusting Eric - and coldly leaves him to deal with the attendant emotional wreckage. Like "It's In The Water" before it, "Edge" struck a chord with this reviewer (and reformed homophobe) because it powerfully reinforced an enduring reality that I had already begun to embrace: all of us are connected by the joys and vicissitudes of life (and our own humanity), no matter if we are straight or gay. Moreover, we have a duty to be true to ourselves (something Stafford himself declared in "The Advocate" magazine in 1999). Finally, the events in "Edge" resonated deeply with this reviewer - in many ways, the film was a soundtrack of my own adolescence. Don't view this DVD if you're one of the Rev. Fred Phelps' disciples, though. One of the scenes caused me to bury my head in my lap for about 10 seconds (let's just say this depiction wasn't something I ever read about in "Clean Love and Courtship: A Guide for Young Catholic Women"). But it's doubtful that my dedication to this transcendent film will equate to 70 years of bad luck. "Edge of Seventeen" is David Moreton's heartfelt and inspiring cinematic jewel. More than presenting DeLaria's and Stafford's breakthrough performances, it's an unforgettable film for the ages."