Lightyear Entertainment: Edge of Everything (2023) - Reviewed

Images courtesy of Lightyear Entertainment

The troubled possibly delinquent teenager of a single parent coming-of-age drama is as old as cinema itself with emphasis on the downtrodden paths unassuming kids can fall into.  Whether it be Larry Clark’s Kids, Catherine Hardwicke’s Thirteen, Marielle Heller’s The Diary of a Teenage Girl and more recently Kelly Fremon Craig’s The Edge of Seventeen, the films often posited preteen female characters on the cusp of sexual awakening at a difficult transitional period in their lives with the beleaguered parents, friends and/or relatives unsure of how or if to intervene.  The latest addition to what will be an ongoing subgenre for some time are writer-producer-directors Sophia Sabella and Pablo Feldman’s feature film debut Edge of Everything, a tale of a fifteen year old girl who starts hanging out with a rebellious bad girl who introduces her to everything from drinking, drugs and sex with destructive repercussions. 

Starring The Vast of Night actress Sierra McCormick as Abby, we learn the preteen who lost her mother recently is forced to move in with her estranged father David (Jason Butler Harner) and his young girlfriend Leslie (Sabrina Friedman-Seitz).  Unhappy with the living situation and taking orders from her father’s girlfriend, she’s hanging out with her friends one day when she notices Caroline (Fear Street actress Ryan Simpkins) shoplifting and drinking outside and finds herself unable to stop hanging out with her or integrating her into her friendship circle and family home.  Vicariously egging Abby on to be more rebellious, Abby soon gets involved with smoking pot, drinking alcohol and hanging around juvenile delinquents playing hooky and trying to seduce and deflower the underage girl.  Will Abby see the light and free herself of this downward spiral before it is too late?

A taut, tight little coming-of-age drama with strong performances from the ensemble cast and a cautionary tale about how one person can negatively impact an entire group of people as Abby’s concerned friends soon too fall under Caroline’s drug abusing spell and risk getting into very serious trouble, Edge of Everything isn’t exactly unfamiliar territory.  A parent’s worst nightmare with the father figure trying his best to gain footing on a delicate situation while his girlfriend doesn’t know whether to stay or go, the film shot in 1.66:1 widescreen by Scott Ray looks handsome enough, frequently resorting to handheld camerawork for tenser preteen exchanges.  The film doesn’t seem to have an original score and primarily utilizes preexisting needle drops.  The two young leads played by Sierra McCormick and Ryan Simpkins give their all while many of the other young supporting members turn over fine performances.  Nothing spectacular but certainly believable in the pantheon of juvenile delinquent dramas.

The Best Independent Feature Winner at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival, the under-the-radar DVD release of Edge of Everything won’t make a huge splash in the marketplace but it absolutely contributes positively to the ongoing discourse surrounding the difficulties and crossroads faced by adolescents as they stand on the precipice of adulthood.  While I myself am more inclined to point to the aforementioned examples listed above over this, it still nevertheless leaves its small mark and is a step in the right direction.  Where the careers of Sophia Sabella and Pablo Feldman remain to be seen where they do or don’t develop, it is fair to say Sierre McCormick and Ryan Simpkins are on the right track to fleshing out their respective acting careers.

--Andrew Kotwicki