Like so many passionate cinephiles, my taste for film really formed in my teens, with offbeat comedies like Juno, Little Miss Sunshine, and Almost Famous becoming the signposts for what I consider top tier filmmaking: funny, warm, and true. Only now in my late 20s do I see that all of those movies share the common thread of beautifully exploring adolescent lives, zeroing in on that crucible of emotion that inevitably shapes us into who we become. In the alchemy of my own crucible, I found that those coming of age comedy dramas were the movies that resonate with me most.
They still are.
The 2010’s have given us many lovely coming-of-age films like Lady Bird and The Spectacular Now, but one of the most criminally under-appreciated explorations of teenage girlhood from this decade is 2016’s stunning The Edge of Seventeen. The filmmaker at the center of it’s beating heart is the incomparably talented Kelly Fremon Craig. Here at Popcorn Talk, we’re going to highlight this incredible filmmaker in honor of women’s history month, and frankly, because she deserves it.
Kelly Fremon Craig’s story should resonate with any and all upcoming filmmakers. Her first feature script was originally embraced by Ghostbuster’s director Ivan Reitman, and eventually rewritten, re-routed, and released to critical and commercial disappointment in the movie Post Grad. Stories like this so often represent the sometimes frustrating journey for filmmakers, but Craig pushed through and ended up speccing a script called Besties that was sent to, and embraced by, James L. Brooks.
That movie was re-titled The Edge of Seventeen, and marks one of the best directorial debuts of this decade. For a first-time filmmaker to come out with such a tonally assured and sharply observed story of teenage angst – sweet and serious all at the same time – represents a rare command of craft that sets up Craig for what I’m certain is going to be an incredible career.
Speaking of that career, Craig will be writing and adapting one of the most beloved young adult novels of the 20th century, Judy Blume’s classic, Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret. This couldn’t be a better match of a material to director, and I can’t wait to see what Craig will do to realize the book. Further down the pike is Wild Game, set to explore the turbulent relationship between a mother and her teenage daughter, and I’m already anticipating it to be this decade’s answer to Lady Bird.
Speaking of Lady Bird, it’s not hard to see that Craig is soon going to join the ranks of high acclaim with Greta Gerwig, and I’m predicting the same meteoric rise. Like an annoying but lovable teenager – a character type that Craig loves so dearly – I’m smug over the fact that I will have embraced and predicted Craig’s inevitably huge career “before she was super famous.”