'The Edge of Seventeen' and Mental Illness on the Big Screen

'The Edge of Seventeen' and Mental Illness on the Big Screen

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A few years later, Nadine is depressed. Her best friend has just started dating her perfect brother, her relationship with her mother is non-existent and she hates everyone, including herself. So she turns to her history teacher, Mr Bruner, played by Woody Harrelson, and tells him she is going to kill herself. His reaction? He mocks Nadine. Here is a student that he knows has a history of psychological distress who tells him she wants to commit suicide and he simply brushes it off.

I had hoped this movie would explore the theme of mental illness more seriously. Maybe it could have been a blueprint for help families coping with similar issues and gotten people to open up and start having real conversations with their teenagers about such a heavy topic.

But the movie just throws a bit of that good ol' Hollywood Tinkerbell dust on Nadine's problems. At the end of the movie, she wakes up the next morning happy with everything suddenly going her way. The boy she likes accepts her affections. She patches things up with her former best friend and has a heart-to-heart with her brother. All of a sudden there is not a semblance of the depression that bogged her down for the majority of the film.

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