EDGE OF EVERYTHING – Review by Betsy Pickle

0 Flares 0 Flares ×

A film doesn’t need to have gruesome special effects, otherworldly demons and exotic incantations to work as a horror movie. Edge of Everything crafts an effective nightmare with a familiar coming-of-age formula, a raw depiction of teen peer pressure and an alarming reflection of a licentious youth culture that can’t seem to shake toxic masculinity no matter how “woke” it appears.

Edge of Everything doesn’t reinvent the wheel of teen rebellion, but it does slide viscerally into the driver’s seat. You’d have to go back to 2003’s Thirteen to find as compelling an example of young angst as this feature co-written and co-directed by Pablo Feldman and Sophia Sabella.

The story is set in the valley of the shadow of death, or, to be more specific, Mill Valley, a wealthy San Francisco suburb. Abby (Sierra McCormick) has just lost her mother, and she is resentfully living with her long-estranged father, David (Jason Butler Harner), and his much younger girlfriend, Leslie (Sabina Friedman-Seitz). David is trying to make the transition smooth for Abby, but she isn’t impressed, and she has nothing but contempt for Leslie.

Abby, who’s about to turn 15, does have a support system – three friends who have grown up with her – but the status quo isn’t cutting it for her. Restless, and keenly aware of how quickly life can change, Abby looks for someone who shares her “who cares?” attitude.

She’s drawn to Caroline (Ryan Simkins), an older girl whose indifferent parents don’t hold her accountable for anything. Abby begins to pick up Caroline’s vices, causing contention with her lifelong friends and testing David’s determination to be a good parent.

Edge of Everything doesn’t preach, and it’s not really a cautionary tale. Abby and her friends all are aware of the consequences of smoking, drinking, using drugs and engaging in sexual activities, and until now they’ve been content to follow the prudent path. They don’t realize that there are already cracks in the walls of their protected lives.

Co-director/writers Pablo Feldman and Sophia Sabella provide a solid script that’s realistic in both broad strokes and subtle details. The dialogue is particularly impressive in its honesty. The writers capture the pettiness and the truth, the competition and the loyalty within the circle of friends and the wider population of the story.

There aren’t many weak links in the cast, but McCormick stands head and shoulders above the rest of the ensemble. A petite young woman several years older than her character, she’s thoroughly convincing as a 14-/15-year-old, delivering the pendulum swings appropriate to a teenager trying to find herself.

There’s no reason for a sequel to be made, but McCormick gains the audience’s empathy, if not always their sympathy. It’s interesting to think about how Abby’s life could turn out, but to borrow an old yearbook sentiment, we “wish her well in all her future endeavors.”

(The last I checked, the film was not yet rated.)

0 Flares Twitter 0 Facebook 0 0 Flares ×

Betsy Pickle

Betsy Pickle is a freelance film critic and journalist. She was the film critic at the Knoxville News Sentinel from May 1985 to November 2008. A Knoxville native, she graduated from the University of Tennessee with a B.S. in communications. In 1992, Betsy co-founded the Southeastern Film Critics Association, a group that has grown to more than 40 members in nine states. She served as SEFCA's president 2001-2004. She is a past member of the advisory council of the Tennessee Film, Entertainment and Music Commission and has served as a judge at the Nashville Film Festival, the Asheville Film Festival and the late and lamented Valleyfest Film Festival. Her reviews and features have appeared in newspapers from Atlanta to Anchorage and Stuart, Fla., to Sacramento, Calif.