Hailee Steinfeld: 2016’s Voice of the Teens

By alicia silverstone, brat pack, breakfast club, clueless, coming of age, film, genre, Hailee Steinfeld, high school, lindsay lohan, mean girls, Molly Ringwald, movies, teenagers, the edge of seventeen,

Hailee Steinfeld is a representative of teenage angst. The Edge of Seventeen has been compared to John Hughes coming of age classics like Pretty in Pink, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, and Sixteen Candles. In any coming of age story there’s a voice, in this case it’s the voice of Hailee Steinfeld portraying protagonist Nadine.

By Siebbi (cropped and revised version of ipernity.com) [CC BY 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Every genre of teenagers has their voice, that one actor or actress to hit the nail on the head representing teenagers in a given time period. In the 1980’s it was Molly Ringwald, a prominent member of the Brat Pack. The brat pack made the coming of age films in the 1980’s so prominent. She’s known for her leading roles in The Breakfast Club, Pretty in Pink and Sixteen Candles.

By User:Pgianopoulos (File:Molly Ringwald in Greece.jpg) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

The voice of the 90’s was Alicia Silverstone as a spoiler teen in Beverly Hills portraying Cher in the Clueless. She put a bubbly teenage voice to what its like to be totally clueless to the rest of the world. Even though I first saw clueless 10 years after it came out, I was still able to connect with Silverstone’s character. Cher is a beautiful teen with her heart in the right place who loves to shop her problems away, how could you not relate? Sure her life isn’t as unfortunate as most teenagers think their lives are. Most teens would kill to have Cher’s life, living in Beverly Hills and frequenting Rodeo Drive as her shopping stomping ground. More similar to most teenagers, Cher is clueless and finds herself soul searching. No wonder she’s still such a prominent pop culture figure today.

By ravenu (http://flickr.com/photos/ravenu/365637489/) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Then came Mean Girls in 2004, possibly the most quotable movie to this day. Lindsay Lohan starred as Cady, a ‘home-schooled jungle freak’ turned high school mean girl in. Aside from Cady transitioning from home schooling in Africa, I think any teenager can relate to trying to fit in. And every teenager has encountered a mean girl. The reason Mean Girls was such a hit was because of its accuracy (and wild exaggerations). Mean Girls brought the stereotypes of public high school to the big screen. Whether you classify yourself as a ‘art geek’, ‘Asian nerd’ or ‘sexually activate band geek’, you identified with this film in your teenage years.

By Toglenn Uploaded by MyCanon [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0) or GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html)], via Wikimedia Commons

In 2016, we found our teenage voice, it’s Hailee Steinfeld in The Edge of Seventeen. The Edge of Seventeen hit theaters November 18th and the critics love it. Vanity Fair calls Hailee Steinfeld excellent and charming. The voice that reaches the teens and speaks out to them are real. They have to be accurate and remind teenagers of themselves. Hailee Steinfeld does this perfectly in The Edge of Seventeen. If you don’t believe me… well you’ll just have to see The Edge of Seventeen for yourself.

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