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The Scene in ‘The Edge of Seventeen’ That Helped Normalize Depression

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The Edge of Seventeen” has gotten some great reviews since its release this past November. It’s been heralded as the next teen movie, compared to “Pretty in Pink” or “Empire Records.”

That’s what drew me to it at first. I thought the trailers looked funny, and the fashion was quirky. It had all the makings of a decent way to spend an hour and a half of my life.

I thought it was funny how relatable Hailee Steinfeld’s character Nadine was. She was moody, self-conscious and awkward, just like me. It got even better when the movie subtly acknowledged Nadine’s depression.

In the scene, we see Nadine take a small white pill and plop into bed. It’s a move many with anxiety or depression can relate to. A friend calls just as she settles in, and she answers in a monotone voice saying she can’t talk and hangs up. She thinks better of it, and she calls her friend back to explain.

“Sorry, I just took some medicine. I’ll call you back when it kicks in,” she says.

Her friend, understandably, asks, “Wait, what’s wrong? Are you sick?”

Nadine replies, “No, I’m fine. Medicine as in, like, an antidepressant or whatever.”

After a pause, she continues, “Does that make you think I’m pathetic all the sudden?”

And he insists that she’s perfectly fine.

That is it. End of discussion.

It’s so small and not incredibly important to the story. Yet, my heart jumped up in my throat with relief upon seeing something that’s so normal to me finally normalized in a movie. She wasn’t trying to hurt herself or get high. Nadine was simply having a bad day and needed a little help. Just like many people do.

It feels like slowly, the world is coming out of its shell about mental illness. I’m looking forward to finding more of it until it’s not so noticeable anymore.

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Image via The Edge of Seventeen’s Facebook page.

Originally published: January 6, 2017
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