A Eurythmics-obsessed, small-town Ohio youth comes to terms with his sexual identity and his New Wave fashion sense in this gentle coming-out drama, which is set in 1984.
When closeted Sandusky teen Eric (Chris Stafford) and his best friend, Maggie (Tina Holmes), accept summer jobs in food service at the local amusement park, they befriend their lesbian manager, Angie (Lea DeLaria), and a gay college student named Rod (Andersen Gabrych). Sparks fly between the two boys, even as Maggie waits patiently in the wings for Eric's affections.
Rod eventually gives Chris the first-time experience he was looking for, then promptly heads back to Ohio State, leaving the younger guy to spend his entire senior year looking for love -- and the perfect bleach job.
As Eric's outsider fashions raise eyebrows with his loving parents, he learns that his frustrated pianist mom (Stephanie McVay) is going to have to get a job to help send him to study music in New York. Meanwhile, Eric ventures out to the local gay disco, a hopping joint run by none other than his old boss, Maggie, who shows him the ropes and gives him just enough rope to hang himself. Stung by a meaningless sexual experience and pining away for the otherwise involved Rod, Eric decides to sleep with the saintly Maggie. But he's too open and sensitive to pull a fast one over on her; crestfallen at his rejection and his willingness to toy with her affections, she ends the friendship, leaving Eric to confide in his mother -- and find his place in the gay community.
Written by Todd Stephens, directed by David Moreton, and produced by both, Edge of Seventeen was screened as part of the American Spectrum at Sundance in 1999. Stephens would return with the similarly themed Gypsy 83 in 2001.