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on 25 June 2012
This Film is as simple as it can and should be. The situation is becoming more and more common. A teenager, a junior in his high school, discovers little by little he is attracted to men. He has a girl friend who would like the relation to go all the way, but he does not bring it there which makes him start wondering.

Then he is thrown into the gay world by accident, the way most things happen in life. His first man is a sweet and maybe slightly weak predator, a senior in his high school, and a colleague at his summer workplace. The young junior falls and the senior goes to college in September. Eric will have to live alone with his recollection, his desire and the demand from his mother and society to have a normal life with a girl friend and all the rest that goes along with it. Maggie will play what she still does not know is a game.

Then all that happens is accidental till it becomes a real choice. Later he will run away from a straight party when he is called a queer because he dances in a rather exuberant way. He goes to a gay night club or bar where he meets someone. The next stage later on will be to run after his first male lover and to get it finished physically and emotionally: right through to the end of the physical act and to the final closure of the emotional experience.

Then he will try to go back to a normal straight life and have a night with his girl friend, Maggie. But in the morning he will feel no satisfaction, no fulfilment. He will know then lying is no solution and he will move towards telling his mother and then going back to where he finds his full both physical and emotional nourishment.

The film is then interesting because it describes the slow change that occurs in Eric with total sympathy and even empathy. Eric is living what practically all human beings have lived or deserve living: the slow awakening of desire and search for satisfaction of that desire, the desire to be appealing to someone else, the desire to answer to the ones who are appealing to him, the desire to feel happy and satisfied when he meets with that mutual appeal which is first of all a strong emotion that becomes a passion. Then the physical act is like natural.

This is not typical of gay men, but any man feels that transformation no matter who is the object of the nascent passion. I guess it is also the same thing for women though the film does not insist on the case of the Lesbian friend of Eric's and only shows the deception and frustration of Maggie when she realizes her appeal has been hijacked by Eric.

This film insists on the role of the mother that moves from open hostility to acceptance without the know-how required by such a disquieting situation. If the mother accepts her son's choice, she will have to defend him and it when confronted to the dubitative hostility of other parents, not to speak of the open hostility of other teenagers, some school officials, PTA members, church representatives, etc.

A good film on the problem and necessity to come out as soon as the appeal starts moving in you, though you need a confident, an accomplice, someone who understands and supports you in that transformation. Coming out is hard.

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TOP 50 REVIEWERon 25 January 2016
For the soundtrack and acting, Edge Of Seventeen could hardly be improved upon. Eric, a high school student, has a best friend Maggie who goes to work with him on a summer job in catering. There he meets Rod, who is already a student at Ohio State University, and gay. He flirts with Eric, who is on the verge of admitting to himself that he is gay, but Rod is clearly pretty vacuous - clearly to the audience, that is, but not to poor Eric. The focus of these few weeks in his life is partly his going to a local gay bar, run by Angie (the irrepressible Lea DeLaria), who also ran the catering outfit, as chance would have it, and acts as a bridge for Eric from his very 'proper' home life with two brothers. The film charts the awkwardness of finding oneself for a gay teenager, as things were back then. Gradually he starts to wear makeup and sport a cutting-edge look, with a hat and badges, not a million miles from Boy George; the first time he goes to the club is brilliant in its sense of liberation, Eric coming straight from a rather dull straight party where he had been bullied for his 'alternative' dancing style, much more expressive than other boys, who resent him - the makeup probably not helping either. He goes to the club and is soon caught up on the sounds of Evelyn King and Miquel Brown, with a new set of friends almost on sight. Also at the club, he meets Jonathan, who seems a much more promising figure than Rod ...

The script doesn't go all that deep; we sense his confusion and upset, standing in a phone booth at the club having had sex he didn't really want, and finding no sympathetic ear, really, as it is the middle of the night. The film does give us a fairly light version of the feelings he would be having, nevertheless this allows the soundtrack, stuffed with songs from the period, to dominate, the look, the record covers, Lea DeLaria's energetic turn, the charm of youth. Chris Stafford is very good in the lead, while Tina Holmes as Maggie is quite amazing. She looks like a young Meryl Streep, and acts like one - every nuance of her performance is completely convincing, and her charm emphasises how Eric's gayness is a given - not that he realises this without causing considerable heartache to both of them. It is a perceptive and nostalgic trip back for anyone who was a similar age back in the 80s, and I hope for others too, because there was a certain magic in that look and the music being played in clubs at the time - Bronski Beat, Eurythmics etc feature largely and the film really takes off at those moments.
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VINE VOICEon 26 June 2006
I took a bit of a chance on this one, and was pleasantly surprised. From a fairly straightforward plot (teenage boy coming to terms with his sexuality), Chris Stafford as Eric is a very touching and sensitive lead, while the supporting cast do an able job of "supporting", with the strongest praise undoubtedly going to Lea DeLaria as Uber-Dyke Angie, "easing the passage" as it were(!) of Eric in his journey into finding himself. The 80's soundtrack and appalling fashions of the eighties give this film a real period and nostalgic feel.
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on 28 July 2011
This is a fabulously put together film. It strikes at the difficulties of young gays in the 80's and before, just how difficult it was to be accepted as being "different". Chris Stafford was amazingly clever with his portrayal of a mixed up sexuality teen, who finds that being gay is a lot harder than most realize. The screenplay is excellent, and the way that gay promisicuality rears it's ugly head, is shown in graphic detail. Unfortunately, most gay boys do not conceive that they are shown affection by others because all they are really interested in is to get into "fresh meat". Finally though, this dawns on Eric (Chris Stafford), and he meets a nice lad who appears to want a proper relationship, but they are unexpectedly are parted for a while. Not to give the plot away, but things rise to a crescendo with his mother, and he is supported by his "friends", until he finds true love. I can honestly say that as an avid watcher of Gay Romance, this has to rate amongst the best. Really worth a watch, particularly if you are a young man just coming out, or want a piece of nostalgia.
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on 18 June 2008
When I first saw the trailer for this film I thought it was a love story between the two guys on the cover of the case. In fact it is a very different story. The film is about a young man coming out to himself and those around him over the course of a summer during the 80s.

I found it hard to fault anything in this film. With a lot of gay cimema you do tend to find the production values sometimes look cheap and some of the acting is below par. With this film this never happens. You could easily be watching any mainstream film.

The only thing I didn't like about this movie was that the ending wasn't wrapped in a neat bow. It is by no means a bad ending but I got the feeling they could have continued a bit longer as there still seemed to be more story to tell.

Worth a blind buy.
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on 8 February 2007
Not really into coming-out movies or gay flicks - but the story of a young guy coming out in the early 1980s is so close to being my own story that I decided to give this film a go.

The budget for the movie clearly wasn't vast, but the cast and crew do a very convincing job of transporting the viewer back to the start of The Decade That Taste Forgot. The soundtrack, clothing (my god, to think what was in my own wardrobe back then. Oh the horror!), the set dressing - all spot on.

Chris Stafford as Eric is remarkably good, the character adapting according to his surroundings (the nice but painfully ordinary family home, the slightly OTT gay bar crowd) so effectively this could almost be a documentary. The supporting cast, particularly Stephanie McVey as Eric's mother, do a great job, never overwhelming Stafford's understated yet involving performance.

The 'wooden acting' accusation made in a few reviews is likely to be aimed at Anderson Gabrych, who plays Eric's initial love interest. Compared to Stafford's nuanced performance, Gabrych appears ill at ease, clumsy and so two-dimensional that he would have trouble out-acting a sheet of plywood. Mercifully, Gabrych occupies no more than 15 mins of screen time in total - tune him out by concentrating on Stafford's efforts in their shared scenes.

Sad to report, Chris Stafford left the acting profession not long after the film. He has now graduated as a lawyer.

This is that rarest of things: a good gay movie. Well acted, tightly written, evocative of its era and for those of us who were there and can rememebr it, it's like a trip back two decades. Go on, buy the thing!
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on 26 November 2010
The film was good, the characters and plot were well portrayed and the idea to bring some clarity and voice to homosexuality in the 80s. I found the film good but there are much better gay films such as THE TRIP, SHELTER,LATTER DAYS AND MAKE THE YULETIDE GAY.

I found that the main charcaters actions in the film really did make him less dignified and it portrayed the 'we all make mistakes' cliche well. It also portrayed the confusion of homosexuality very well, showing the struggle of conflictions within because of being raised to think heterosexually and suddenly waking up one morning and 'really' noticing the males around you, because your individual homosexuality has surfaced and you are trying to come to terms with it.

I found myself feeling sorry for his best friend, maggie, at one point as she was just as confused as him. Not knowing if her friend was truly gay or if he liked her romanitically or not. I think that the director of this film made a very good portrayal of confusion and struggle, acceptance and acceptance of others. ALso the director portrayed maggies realisation that her friend was truly gay when she saw him kidding another man, i thought that showing that in the movie was good and artisticly done.

I give this film a 4/5 score. All be it a good film in the end.
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I bought Edge Of Seventeen around 6 months ago & it's been sat on my desk ever since. But today I finally got round to watching it....

Not sure why I waited so long as the bio made it sound really good & I have to admit it really is an amazing film. Watching Eric fall in-love with Rod is so beautiful. It's not like 2 LADS falling in-love, but 2 people falling in-love. It's not often you see that in a film, but when you do it's so magic & such a awesome thing to watch.

It's just awful that Rod does not feel the same and if I'm honest treats Eric like rubbish. But on the other hand this also helps Eric have his own "coming out story" and not rushed into anything by Rod.

The film also has a sort-of nostalgia feel to it too. Maybe because it was filmed in the 90's while set in the 80's. But I do love a bit of nostalgia and this film really does have it.
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on 13 February 2011
For me what makes this otherwise very average coming of age film stand out is its style. It pays tribute to the early eighties - the music and fashion seem nostalgically selected, like the film is Eric in 1998 remembering his first steps into adulthood through sound and colour.

Overall though EOS is lacking in content. Eric is a watchable enough character - he's quite charming and well acted - but he's not interesting enough to be the sole focus of the film. I was left wanting to see more of the supporting characters, as they had too much potential for their fleeting appearences (which always revolved around Eric).

I think with bit of tweaking and shift of focus Edge Of Seventeen could have been a classic gay film. As it is it's enjoyable and worth a watch, but don't expect to reach the end craving a sequel.
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"Did they assign all the gay people to the grub wagon?"

So asks Chris Stafford, young Tom Cruise look-a-like, in this 1998 gay coming-of-age film is set in Ohio in 1984. I've kinda been there: it's my era and my music - the soundtrack is peppered with the likes of The Eurythmics, Haircut 100, A Flock of Seagulls, and The Thompson Twins: indeed, the original music is written by the latter's Tom Bailey - but it's not my country, and not really my circumstances. (At least Eric gets the support of his family.)

Eric works at a foodbar at some kind of tourist attraction to earn a few extra dollars in the school's summer break. Here he meets hot Rod, who diverts his attention away from best friend and potential mate Maggie, who is secretly in love with him. The result is that Eric finds his true self. The movie is a little too slow in places for my liking, but it ticks all the right boxes. His family is supportive but suspicious; Eric's early sexual experiences are emotionally unfulfilling; there's the inevitable older lesbian friend who provides a shoulder on which to cry; and there are the embarrassments, the fear, and the emotional blackmail.

It's generally well-acted, even if we can guess that cute Chris Stafford is actually older than the part he plays. (He was 21 in 1998.)

There are no extras worth writing about.
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