Edge of Seventeen follows the coming of age story of Eric (Chris Stafford), a teenager at the end of high school beginning to fully realize his sexuality. He and his best friend, Maggie (Tina Holmes), take summer jobs at their local amusement park, and end up becoming friends with the manager, Angie, who’s a lesbian, and Rod (Andersen Gabrych), a gay college student for whom Eric starts to develop feelings.
Rod goes back to college, leaving Eric slightly dazed but still more confident about his own sexuality. He decides to get more in touch with himself with the help of Maggie, who actually secretly longs for him. After attending a high school party, Eric finds himself as the target of homophobic slurs, and he runs off to The Universal, a local gay disco also run by Angie. He begins to frequent the bar often, and ends up having a meaningless sexual experience that leaves him cold. He comes out to Maggie, who’s far from surprised, and soon meets another college boy named Jonathon.
One night, while trying to find Jonathon, he runs into Rod instead, and sleeps with him. He leaves early in the morning, feeling uncomfortable, then returns home to an ambush by his mother, then runs off to Maggie, who mistakes his desire for comfort as a desire for more. After the two sleep together, Eric confesses that it was a mistake, effectively ending their friendship. In a final confrontation with his mother, Eric comes clean about his identity, and is shown to be markedly more relaxed with the burden off of his shoulders.
“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.”
—Stephen Holden, The New York Times
Did You Know?
The amusement park used for some of the scenes in the film Edge of Seventeen is the actual amusement park where the writer himself worked as a teenager in the past. The film opened to distinct praise, and was showcased at such festivals as the Sundance Film Festival and the New York Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Film Festival. Review our Gay Themed Films here