Set in 1984 in Sandusky, Ohio, it follows the coming-out of a naive 17-year-old at exactly the moment when gender-bending pop stars like Boy George and the Annie Lennox of the Eurythmics were flaunting androgynous images. As the youth, played with a heartbreaking sweetness by Chris Stafford, goes through his first rites of gay passage he emerges as a poignant gay everyman.
Edge of Seventeen is a 1998 coming of age romantic comedy-drama film directed by David Moreton, written by Moreton and Todd Stephens, starring Chris Stafford, and co-starring Tina Holmes and Andersen Gabrych.
The tale of a high school student in the small town of Sandusky, Ohio circa 1984 (a year when 80's pop-culture was in it's prime) who comes to terms with his homosexuality much to the astonishment of his long-time girlfriend.
Sandusky, Ohio, 1984: Eric Hunter is a Eurythmics-obsessed, musically driven teenager coming to terms with his sexual identity. When Eric and his best friend, Maggie, accept summer jobs in food service at the local amusement park, they befriend their lesbian manager, Angie, and a gay college student named Rod. Sparks fly between the two boys, even as Maggie waits patiently in the wings for Erics affections. Eric and Rod eventually go on a date, but then Rod promptly heads back to Ohio State. The encounter leaves Eric to have mixed feelings, but he is now more sure of his sexuality. After beginning his senior year of high school, Eric starts to change up his appearance by letting Maggie dye the top half of his hair blonde, and wearing more effeminate clothes. This raises eyebrows with his loving parents, but Eric learns that his mom is going to get a part time job at a local movie multiplex to help send him to study music in New York. While at a party with Maggie, several guys from their school call Eric gay slurs that cause him to leave.
Later that night, Eric ventures out to the local gay disco "The Universal", a hopping joint run by none other than his old boss, Angie, who tells him not to worry about what everyone else thinks. He dances with a guy who takes him out to his car where the guy gives Eric a rim job, but then leaves shortly afterwards. Stung by a meaningless sexual experience, he calls Rod, who at first seems happy to hear from him, but then tells Eric that he probably shouldnt call him anymore. Eric then goes to Maggies house where he finally tells her that he is gay. Maggie does not seem to be that surprised since she suspected Erics relationship with Rod, but she comforts him nevertheless. Eric starts visiting the bar frequently, where he feels accepted by Angie and her close circle of friends. While waiting to meet up with Maggie one night, Eric clicks with a local college student named Jonathan. When Maggie finally comes to the club, she is heckled by Angies friends for being Erics "fag hag", and leaves. He follows Maggie, but she is really upset at Eric for previously leading her on.
Eric goes back to the club to find Jonathan, only to discover that he is already gone. He goes to the Ohio State dorms in hopes of finding him, but decides to find Rod instead. They go back to Rods room where they end up having sex. Eric is shown to be uncomfortable during it, and leaves after Rod falls asleep. When Eric goes home, he is ambushed by his mother, Bonnie, about his recent behavior and appearance, and says that people are getting the wrong idea about him. Eric leaves, and goes to see Angie. While at her house, Angie explains to Eric that its difficult to accept yourself for who you really are, and that he should give himself some time. He reconciles with Maggie, but quickly realizes that it was a mistake after sleeping together. Crestfallen at his rejection and his willingness to toy with her affections, Maggie ends the friendship. After she leaves, Erics mother confronts him about a pair of matches she found in his clothes that were from the bar. He quickly denies ever going to the Universal, and leaves. When Eric finally comes home, he finds his mother playing on the piano. He comes out to her; feeling a weight being lifted off his shoulders. The film ends with Eric going back to the bar just as Angie begins to sing. It is loosely implied that after high school he will go off to New York for college and live the life he wants to live.Chris Stafford as Eric Hunter
Tina Holmes as Maggie
Andersen Gabrych as Rod
Stephanie McVay as Bonnie Hunter
Lea DeLaria as Angie
Barbie Marie as Frieda
John Eby as Dad
Jeff Fryer as Johnathon
Jason Griffith (uncredited) as High School Party Friend
While part of the film was set at The Ohio State University, a portion of the filming was completed at Oberlin College.
Much of the filming took place in Sandusky, Ohio, with the amusement park scenes filmed at Sanduskys Cedar Point, the amusement park where the writer actually worked when he was in high school.
The film premiered at the New York Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, & Transgender Film Festival in June 1998 and the Sundance Film Festival in January 1999, before getting a limited release in June 1999.
Edge of Seventeen currently holds a 73% Fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes.
Stephen Holden from The New York Times wrote “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.” 1998 Outfest
Won Audience Award
Outstanding Narrative Feature (David Moreton)
Grand Jury Award
Outstanding American Narrative Feature (David Moreton)
Outstanding Screenwriting (Todd Stephens)
1998 San Francisco International Lesbian & Gay Film Festival
Won Audience Award
Best Feature (David Moreton)
Andersen Gabrych, who portrays Rod, appears as a drugged-out version of the character in Another Gay Sequel: Gays Gone Wild!, another film by Edge writer Todd Stephens.
Music from the Motion Picture Soundtrack
Saving Face (2004). Todd Stephens wrote the screenplay for Edge of Seventeen and directed Gypsy 83. Dorian Blues (2004). Tina Holmes appears in Edge of Seventeen and Seven and a Match. Your Friends & Neighbors (1998).
- "Right by Your Side" – Eurythmics
- "Smalltown Boy" – Bronski Beat
- "Wishing (If I Had a Photograph of You)" – A Flock Of Seagulls
- "Obsession" – Animotion
- "The Politics of Dancing" – Re-Flex
- "Love Plus One" – Haircut One Hundred
- "Destination Unknown" – Missing Persons
- "So Many Men, So Little Time" – Miquel Brown
- "High Energy" – Evelyn Thomas
- "Mickey" – Toni Basil
- "Why?" – Bronski Beat
- "Modern Love Is Automatic" – A Flock Of Seagulls
- "In the Name of Love" – Thompson Twins
- "Youre My World" – Cilla Black
- "Blue Skies" – Lea Delaria