Edge of Seventeen
Offical Rating: USA: R, UK: 15. Lowest: Germany: 12, Highest : Banned in Singapore
My Rating: Sexual content: 4/10, Nudity, 7/10, Language, 5/10. Overall, Semi Mature 7/10
File for download: coming
I watched this film without having any idea what it was about, I was also on a three hour flight from Bucharest at the time. Maybe that biased me slightly after all it is hard to enjoy anything while trapped in a tiny seat on an overly hot airplane…
However having watched the entire Bourne trilogy on a PSP in the back of a four by four on the way to the Grand Canyon…I think my viewing pleasure was more effected by the content than the comfort of my behind.
I suspect I was immediately put off by the fact this IS a fairly old movie made in ‘98, set in a small American town in the eighties. I’ll be the first to admit I hate both old movies and movies set in small American towns…However what really lets this down is the portrayal of the main character and his friends around him. Old movies are bearable because you make allowances for the fact the views and acting in them are from a different time period, and yes I suppose the eighties aren’t exactly ancient still the allowances were made and I adapted my thinking for the views about homosexuality people held back then.
The film is a coming-of-age tale focussing on teenage high-schooler, Eric who gets a summer job at what I assume is a theme park serving food in the restaurant, with his best friend, Maggie. It’s clear from the start Maggie is pretty much just waiting around for Eric to notice her, declare his love and take her off somewhere to be ravished. From the start I felt the acting was a bit awkward, especially from Maggie… Her voice was quiet and non committal, the conversations they had were boring and flat. Then again maybe that was just her character, after all it’s a gay movie, you’re not supposed to hope the girl gets the guy are you. Throughout the entire movie I just wished she’d bugger off somewhere, again maybe that was the point.
While at this summer job Eric meets Rod, who you can label as gay immediately and to which he freely admits. Eric’s reaction is of course to run away. Now by this point maybe you expect some glances, casual flirting by Rod, and Eric being cute and awkward and then maybe an accidental kiss or something to ‘break the ice’. Instead Maggie declares that she over heard Rod was gay and then proceeds to kiss Eric and giggle…I ask again why won’t she just piss off?
Then suddenly, as if I had got up to go to the loo and forgotten to pause my media player, Rod is openly and a little crudely flirting with Eric who responds in like, and then they trap themselves in the walk in larder and spray each other with whipped cream…maybe this is supposed to be erotic? I was just confused, one moment he’s scared by Rod’s open gayness the next he’s standing two inches from his face having just sprayed whipped cream on his crotch?
As the film progressed I found my self getting more and more annoyed at the stereotypical portrayal of gay men, Rod and Eric sneak off to a hotel room to sleep together and it really is one of the best moments in the film, I was shocked to learn I still had an hour to go, because surely this was the end? The culmination of everything that had gone before into the sweet loving ending where the two main characters fall in love? Wrong again, They sleep together, although don’t go as far as full sex, Rod proclaims he will miss him a lot then goes home and never calls or gets in touch. Eric is left confused and slightly pathetic, which I suppose is a fair reaction after being casually tossed by someone you thought cared. However his next action, which was to find the local gay bar and start picking up guys and sleeping with them in cars, just bemused me.
Again I know it’s an old film set and made in an era where people thought that was what gay was all about, but I was under the impression that films weren’t meant to reflect the harsh reality of the time, why is it that romance films are always the same crappy sap until you introduce homosexuality, then it’s all about the sex.
Eric slowly starts changing everything about him self from his hair to his dress sense to ‘reflect’ his new gay personality, like somehow his jacket represents him. He tells Maggie who promises she will still be his friends and love him, the promptly abandons him after she sees him kissing another guy. I mean what did she expect?
Of course I can’t help but feel a little sorry for her when Eric sleeps with her to somehow hetro out the homo in him? He realises his mistake and apologises to her when they wake up….although I dislike her, I can’t help but sympathise.
The movies end was yet another disappointment, Eric ends up back at the gay bar picking up guys to have sex with. Maybe I missed the point, maybe it was supposed to be a ‘harsh reality’ movie. To highlight the prejudice and stereotypes of homosexuality in the eighties. But I felt all it did was reinforce people’s belief that gay’s don’t fall in love, they hurt their friends and family, and it’s all about the sex.
While I didn’t finish the movie feeling like I had been robbed of my hour and a half and I suppose I would recommend it to watch if only to pass the time and to say you have, I did leave feeling faintly offended. I know that the world has had and still does have some unpleasant views on homosexuality and many other things, but I watch movies to get away from that. I always feel a movie should be about achieving the impossible or going against the standards society has set and proving them wrong. All this movie does is hammer in the already pretty solid beliefs people have, and it doesn’t even do it in an appealing manner.
Recommend to someone else: 2/10
Story potential: 7/10
Actual Story: 3/10
Final score: 4/10