Director: Kelly Fremon Craig.
An incredible, impressive directorial debut from Kelly Fremon Craig who also wrote this bittersweet teen-something movie about a socially challenged, awkward high school girl who periodically freaks out in glorious fashion triggered by friendships, or lack of, sibling rivalry, and romance; but not in the conventional way, more like how it happens in real life.
Hailee Steinfeld is simply amazing as Nadine suffering from low self esteem, running through her daily routine sometimes hysterically, when thing so tragically don't go how they're expected. She emits that feeling of being unheard, inadequate and mostly misunderstood. She's constantly fighting a losing battle, mostly against herself.
Blake Jenner plays her perfect brother who's supposedly self obsessed, the popular high school hunk and the obvious favourite of their flamboyant mother who's played by Kyra Sedgwick. Her childhood best friend, well, only friend Krista (Haley Lu Richardson) is partly her anchor, a refuge that understands her, but friends have their falling outs, and this sisterhood falls in epic proportions.
One other person who gets her is her teacher, Mr. Bruner, who she both despises and pesters in lunchtimes of ranting frenzies. Woody Harrelson is brilliant as the sarcastic, apparent-imprudent figurehead. Oh, and let's not forget her admirer, Erwin, perfectly played by Hayden Szeto sharing his own awkwardness that makes way for some great comical scenes.
There's no Stevie Nicks track though, but that doesn't meant the soundtrack isn't good, because it is but isn't actually dominant like it can be in these kind of movies. It's more like background music as oppose to the soundtrack however there's amazing tracks from The Cinematic Orchestra', Amiee Mann, The 1975's, Phantogram, Birdy, Cloves, Santigold and Two Door Cinema Club; with Atli Örvarsson providing a good piano score.
This certainly puts both Craig and Steinfeld on the map, being superbly paced, flowing gracefully, making a perfect snapshot of Nadine's teenage life. Going through the mixed emotions of hate, disgust, fear, laughter and love. Craig really proves her love for the movies, knowing the craft exceptionally well, with her camera work and movie references.
It's an honest, brave and daring observation of how troublesome teenage life in western world can be and a great reminder that we're all just trying to get somewhere some of us don't even know until we get there. It's full of cringe-worthy, inappropriate comedy including naughty fumblings and sexting but with an incredible amount of heart.
Running Time: 9
The Cast: 9
Job Description: 10
The Extra Bonus Point: 10 for a perfect debut, a refreshing and highly enjoyable story.