Edge of Seventeen (film)
|Edge of Seventeen|
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||David Moreton|
|Music by||Tom Bailey|
|Edited by||Tal Ben-David|
Blue Streak Films
|Distributed by||Strand Releasing|
Edge of Seventeen is a 1998 coming of age romantic comedy-drama film directed by David Moreton, written by Moreton and Todd Stephens, starring Chris Stafford, and co-starring Tina Holmes and Andersen Gabrych.
Sandusky, Ohio, 1984: Eric Hunter is a Eurythmics-obsessed, musically driven teenager coming to terms with his sexual identity. When Eric and his best friend, Maggie, accept summer jobs in food service at the local amusement park, they befriend their lesbian manager, Angie, and a gay college student named Rod. Sparks fly between the two boys, even as Maggie waits patiently in the wings for Eric's affections. Eric and Rod eventually go on a date, but then Rod promptly heads back to Ohio State. The encounter leaves Eric to have mixed feelings, but he is now more sure of his sexuality. After beginning his senior year of high school, Eric starts to change up his appearance by letting Maggie dye the top half of his hair blonde, and wearing more effeminate clothes. This raises eyebrows with his loving parents, but Eric learns that his mom is going to get a part-time job at a local movie multiplex to help send him to study music in New York. While at a party with Maggie, several guys from their school call Eric gay slurs that cause him to leave.
Later that night, Eric ventures out to the local gay disco "The Universal", a hopping joint run by none other than his old boss, Angie, who tells him not to worry about what everyone else thinks. He dances with a guy who takes him out to his car where the guy gives Eric a rim job, but then leaves shortly afterwards. Stung by a meaningless sexual experience, he calls Rod, who at first seems happy to hear from him, but then tells Eric that he probably shouldn't call him anymore. Eric then goes to Maggie's house where he finally tells her that he is gay. Maggie does not seem to be that surprised since she suspected Eric's relationship with Rod, but she comforts him nevertheless. Eric starts visiting the bar frequently, where he feels accepted by Angie and her close circle of friends. While waiting to meet up with Maggie one night, Eric clicks with a local college student named Jonathan. When Maggie finally comes to the club, she is heckled by Angie's friends for being Eric's "fag hag", and leaves. He follows Maggie, but she is really upset at Eric for previously leading her on.
Eric goes back to the club to find Jonathan, only to discover that he is already gone. He goes to the Ohio State dorms in hopes of finding him, but decides to find Rod instead. They go back to Rod's room where the two boys have sex. Eric is shown to be uncomfortable during it, and leaves after Rod falls asleep. When Eric goes home, he is ambushed by his mother, Bonnie, about his recent behavior and appearance, and says that people are getting the wrong idea about him. Eric leaves, and goes to see Angie. While at her house, Angie explains to Eric that it's difficult to accept yourself for who you really are, and that he should give himself some time. He reconciles with Maggie, but quickly realizes that it was a mistake after sleeping together. Crestfallen at his rejection and his willingness to toy with her affections, Maggie ends the friendship. After she leaves, Eric's mother confronts him about a pair of matches she found in his clothes that were from the bar. He quickly denies ever going to the Universal, and leaves. When Eric finally comes home, he finds his mother playing on the piano. He comes out to her; feeling a weight being lifted off his shoulders. The film ends with Eric going back to the bar just as Angie begins to sing. It is loosely implied that after high school he will go off to New York for college and live the life he wants to live.
- Chris Stafford as Eric Hunter
- Tina Holmes as Maggie
- Andersen Gabrych as Rod
- Stephanie McVay as Bonnie Hunter
- Lea DeLaria as Angie
- Tony Maietta as Gregg
- Barbie Marie as Frieda
- John Eby as Dad
- Jeff Fryer as Johnathon
- Jason Griffith (uncredited) as High School Party Friend
The film premiered at the New York Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, & Transgender Film Festival in June 1998 and the Sundance Film Festival in January 1999, before getting a limited release in June 1999.
Stephen Holden of The New York Times wrote, “The insecurities and turbulent desires of adolescence have rarely been portrayed more faithfully on screen than in Edge of Seventeen the latest and most poignant in a recent spate of teen-age male coming-out-of-the-closet dramas.”
- 1998 Outfest
- Won Audience Award
- Outstanding Narrative Feature (David Moreton)
- Grand Jury Award
- Outstanding American Narrative Feature (David Moreton)
- Outstanding Screenwriting (Todd Stephens)
- Won Audience Award
- Best Feature (David Moreton)
- Music from the Motion Picture Soundtrack
- "Right by Your Side" – Eurythmics
- "Smalltown Boy" – Bronski Beat
- "Wishing (If I Had a Photograph of You)" – A Flock of Seagulls
- "Obsession" – Animotion
- "The Politics of Dancing" – Re-Flex
- "Love Plus One" – Haircut One Hundred
- "Destination Unknown" – Missing Persons
- "So Many Men, So Little Time" – Miquel Brown
- "High Energy" – Evelyn Thomas
- "Mickey" – Toni Basil
- "Why?" – Bronski Beat
- "Modern Love Is Automatic" – A Flock of Seagulls
- "In the Name of Love" – Thompson Twins
- "You're My World" – Cilla Black
- "Blue Skies" – Lea DeLaria
In popular culture
- Andersen Gabrych, who portrays Rod, appears as a drugged-out version of the character in Another Gay Sequel: Gays Gone Wild!, another film by Edge writer Todd Stephens.
- Miller, Hanna (November 7, 1997). "Barrows Hall stars as Ohio State in new teen flick". The Oberlin Review. 126 (8). Retrieved June 26, 2018.
- "Edge of Seventeen (1999)". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango Media. Retrieved June 26, 2018.
- Ryll, Alexander. "Essential Gay Themed Films To Watch, Edge Of Seventeen". Gay Essential. Retrieved February 7, 2015.