Edge of Seventeen 1998
1h 39min | Comedy, Drama, Romance | 20 April 2000 (Australia)
A gay teen finds out who he is and what he wants, who his friends are, and who loves him, in this autobiographical tale set in middle America in the 1980s. Growing up, learning about life, love, sex, friends, and lovers.
I saw this movie for the second time last night on cable some 3 or 4 years after my initial viewing. I enjoyed it the first time, but where I am older now and myself am coming out of my shell more (pun intended) as Eric did, I had a greater appreciation of it this time around.
I was five years old at the time this movie took place in 1984, and remember some of those tunes from the wonderful and fun soundtrack, but more because I have downloaded them from the internet in recent years. (ssssh) The gay bar in the movie looked like so much fun, especially during that era of glam and new wave. The scenes there strongly resonated with me, especially when Eric first goes there after a high school party where he is called “queer” by the guy he was eying and appears somewhat nervous before opening the door and walking inside (I know the feeling), and when Eric instantly made friends there (it helped that he already knew a patron, his boss, Angie (played by the entertaining, if crude, Lea DeLaria), from the fast food joint he worked at with Maggie (Tina Holmes) and Rod (Andersen Gabrych). Also, his gradual evolution into his true self, both literally and figuratively, struck a chord as well. It is difficult to keep up appearances and to suppress who one truly is because of how one is socialized and expected to be. It can be, for some, life-threatening and tragically for others, life-ending.
Also, anyone straight or gay can relate to meeting that person (for Eric it was Rod) who knocks your socks (block?) off and who becomes your first love, whether you consummate that mutual attraction or not. Eric is lucky; he got to be with Rod, even if not permanently. The three main characters were very attractive and appealing and acted quite well for an independent feature. Stafford was good in depicting the struggle with one’s sexuality that many of us experience and the added pressure of having to conform to what our parents, peers, and society in general expect of us when it isn’t exactly what we feel on the inside or want to be. Gabrych was a sexy seducer with a killer smile, and Holmes portrayed a straight girl in love with her gay best friend (Stafford) touchingly. The scene after they consummate their relationship shows Eric clearly disoriented and one could tell by the expression on his face that he knew he was gay and that heterosexual sex wasn’t going to do it for him. (Another moment I can relate to.) After all, I really wanted to be in Eric’s place in his bed next to that sultry babe.
Director: David Moreton
Writer: Todd Stephens
Stars: Chris Stafford, Tina Holmes, Andersen Gabrych
Release Date: 20 April 2000 (Australia)
Filming Locations: Sandusky, Ohio, USA