As this new teen flick opens, Nadine (Hailee Steinfeld) is rushing through the high school halls, reflecting emotions racing from hitting “send.” Life couldn’t get any worse after she accidentally texts desires to her crush. Both that and the exchange between Nadine and her teacher, Mr. Bruner (Woody Harrelson) drew me to “The Edge of Seventeen.” It made me wonder what it would be like if texting was around during my high school years. The “what if” scenarios my best friend and I talked about made us glad we missed a slip-up such as Nadine’s. Of course, we also had the tradition of passing paper notes, hoping not to get caught by the teacher. But that almost happened when my best friend tried to pass me a note, asking what was going on between me and a certain guy. That was only part of what she wrote. She had to quickly crumple it up to avoid the embarrassment of a teacher seeing it, reading it to everyone and revealing a secret to the entire class…my crush included. So, despite the difference in communication, Nadine’s dilemma was already very relatable to us.

The facial expressions and body language Nadine shows as she relays her troubles to Mr. Bruner are that of absolute teen mortification. All I could think during this scene was, If my best friend had been caught, what would I do? I only know that I’d be rushing out of school. Or wishing I could do so, since it wasn’t local to my town and I didn’t yet have my license to drive off and escape from my own Nadine moment. It was all too close to happening.

Then, Nadine backtracks through a long line of misfit moments and family tragedy, which makes her feel as though nothing goes right. At least not in her life or from her perspective. It doesn’t help that Darian (Blake Jenner) is her win-at-life brother. In sarcastic, attitude-filled narrating, Steinfeld captures the tormented experience of teen life.

Yet there are easy-going moments, such as when Nadine and Krista (Haley Lu Richardson) are talking about boys as they hang out at school. What Nadine says reveals that she’s got a thing for a bad boy, Nick (Alexander Calvert). Not only could I relate to that, but also to the chit chat about imagining that first time. It reminded me of girl talk between my best friend and I during many high school sleepovers.

Tension mounts between the onscreen best friends because Krista ends up with Darian; it’s just another way in which he wins at life. Nobody could understand how she felt, why it added to her isolation. Then again, she did encounter an awkward moment that shocked her, along with that aggravating sense of Darian getting what he wants as usual. If she had experienced some wins here and there, the budding relationship between her best friend and popular brother wouldn’t have been so troublesome. It just wasn’t as easy for her. Nadine herself longed for a certain guy, although he seemed out of reach and in his own circle of friends. So, unless something happens with him, it counts as another loss for her in life. A partygoer inadvertently rubs it in Nadine’s face how she and her brother differ in image, referencing a comedy movie that she happened to enjoy. The meaning and its parallel to herself and Darian is all too glaring. I figured, Well, I guess that’s no longer one of her favorite flicks!

Despite her feelings of loneliness and being misunderstood, Nadine has another person who seems like an escape from drama. The torment is gone as she spends time with Erwin (Hayden Szeto), a classmate with artistic talents. He’s witty, hilarious and even adorable, in the way that his feelings show for Nadine. As an overall good guy, he likes her and seemingly has no chance because she is blinded by feelings for bad boy Nick. It’s that circle of high school crushes and reminded me of when someone liked me, while my good-girl heart was bursting over another guy. I just couldn’t help but fall for his smoldering eyes, up-to-no-good grin and wild antics.

The issues Nadine has with her brother and best friend dating lands her time in the office where her mom (Kyra Sedgwick) works. As the angst-filled teen acts defiantly and goes berserk with a hole puncher, she brought to mind the image of Bender, in “The Breakfast Club,” as he just keeps pushing for more saturdays under the principal’s watch. For that matter, Nadine speeding off in her mom’s car was similar to Bender leading his detention friends as they sneak through the school. Much like running into their own problem along the way, Nadine races headlong into yet another personal drama…that humiliating text message to her crush. To think that she tried to change her mind, only to have the worst thing happen! Nadine understandably freaks out. This is yet another moment in which Steinfeld perfectly displays the emotion of such an embarrassing moment of feelings for a teen crush. It’s in her verbalized disbelief and angered physical reactions, banging on the playground slide. I could feel that she just wanted to tear her hair out, wishing she was able take back the racy message to Nick, never to be seen.

In misery and hanging out alone, she gets the most unexpected reply and it’s her crush. All too excited to take it any other way than something finally going right, Nadine is readying for date night. As her mom arrives home, my mind was racing with, Hurry up, Nadine…or you’ll never get out of the house! Let this work out for her!

I couldn’t help feeling excited and nervous for Nadine as she meets up with Nick, following their back-and-forth texts. He even came across as sweet as they rode through town. It stirred me that way as I thought about my own high school crush and how I would’ve felt going for a drive with him. Not only that, but in school he gave me, the shy type, subtle and maybe innocent flirty attention. Back then, I’d get a rush from thinking, Oh, my…he likes me…maybe…I couldn’t possibly be his type…how could he…but? How do I know for sure? It was an ongoing mystery, which I kind of loved to ponder. Luckily, there was never anything racy falling into his hands that sparked wilder situations. Of course, I wouldn’t have wanted something to happen just because a guy thinks it’s a sure thing with me. I’d want a guy, especially the high school guy of my dreams, to really feel the same way that I felt for him if things had gone further. In Nadine’s case, what with her bad luck, there is the element of the guy noticing her totally out of the blue because of what she texted. She didn’t interpret his reply that way and hopes for romance, while he is one-track-minded in a bad way.

After what happened, I thought, I was hoping he wouldn’t turn out to be a jerk! If things had turned out that way with my crush, it would’ve been total heartbreak. Watching the outcome of that scene, I could still feel what Nadine felt, as though I’d gone through the same exact ordeal. It brought to mind how I also wished for alone time with my crush. As Nadine hurt, I wondered, What would’ve happened? Would it have turned out different, with a budding romance? Or would it be a similar situation? It seemed like a cinematic message for teen girls to not fall for the bad boy type. Even with that rep, though, they can’t all be the way Nick was in how they treat a girl. Right? I fell for a guy in high school who I guess many would say had a bad boy image. Yet, I never had a moment in which my heart felt broken to the point of seeing him as a creep in the end. There were times when I thought he was helpful and sweet, making my heart melt. Unfortunately, I never dated him, always too nervous and shy to make an approach and tell him how I felt. Earlier in the movie, as Nadine tried to talk to her crush in Petland, I could relate to that barrier of awkwardness she showed in her steps toward the guy. But there was a determination, as well, to at least say something. So, I rooted for her in that moment.

Fast-forward to the film festival, Erwin’s sense of humor continued to show in his entry for the event. Between what Nadine read into it and the good guy’s response, my heart sank once more for her…Oh, no! My eyes teared up in the closing scenes after everything that the tormented teen had been through, followed by a new day and new possibilities.

Congrats to Steinfeld on her nominations for “The Edge of Seventeen” this award season!