In my final year of high school, I lost my virginity and had an existential crisis. I was overwhelmed, confused, distressed, and had important questions I needed answered. Who did I turn to? My English teacher, of course. 

“IT WASN’T WHAT I THOUGHT IT WOULD BE!” I cried as both her and the vice principal looked at me with concern, passing me a box of Kleenex to soak my tears and blow my nose. “I MEAN, I DON’T EVEN KNOW IF I’M STRAIGHT OR A LESBIAN!!” I continued. The vice principal left the room because I expressed that I needed to talk privately with my English teacher. She calmed me down, passed on some words of wisdom, and I was allowed to leave school early to cry-yell into my pillow.

Like Julianne Moore in The English Teacher, my English teacher had beautiful red hair and a soothing voice. Even though she was stern about knee socks and skirt length, she deeply cared about her pupils—and I knew that there was a lot more to her than the conservative front she put on while expressing the hidden metaphors of great literature. I could tell she had another life; one that was full of excitement and romance. Perhaps she even had a quiet rebellious side. The point was, I deeply admired her.

The English Teacher, opening this weekend, explores the special and intense relationship many of us have with that one teacher who really impacted our lives. Julianne Moore plays the part of Linda Sinclair, an English teacher in a small town who appears to be prim and proper. She leads a regimented life that could be easily misinterpreted as dull, but when her star pupil, Jason Sherwood (Michael Angarano), returns after a few years trying to cut it in Manhattan as a  playwright, Linda’s life takes a sudden turn. Her repressed sexuality is awakened and things get rather steamy in the classroom. (Bow-chica-bow!)

Not only is Linda’s life turned upside down, but she also pulls the melodramatic drama department head, Carl Kapinas (perfectly cast with the marvellous Nathan Lane), into her complicated romance. As the school takes on the production of Jason’s play for their annual big show, a love tryst between Linda, Jason, and a precocious student (Lily Collins) ensues. Oh my, this is juicy.

Julianne Moore gives a compelling performance that proves, once again, her immense talent for portraying a wide range of characters with absolute authenticity. From a coke-snorting porn star in Boogie Nights to a fragile 1950s housewife in The Hours, there’s no role that this dynamite actress can’t master.

Charming, hilarious, and touching, this quirky story will have you revisiting your high school days with a feeling of warm nostalgia. I know I wouldn’t be the woman I am today without my favourite English teacher (thanks, Ms. Shephard, for always being there).

In select theatres May 31st. Watch the trailer now