The Spectacular Now-2013

The Spectacular Now-2013

Director-James Ponsoldt

Starring-Miles Teller, Shailene Woodley

Scott’s Review #161

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Reviewed August 29, 2014

Grade: B

The Spectacular Now is a coming-of-age independent film that tells the story of a romance between two unlikely high school seniors.

Sutter (Miles Teller) is a popular student who takes a shine to smart loner Aimee (Shailene Woodley) and the two develop a strong bond as they each struggle with parental issues while being opposite social types- she is college-bound and motivated, he lives in the now with no thoughts of the future. But somehow they forge a connection.

The success of this film lies with Teller and Woodley who each give nice performances as the chemistry between them is evident. At first I neither bought Teller as a traditionally popular kid or Woodley as the friendless recluse, but somehow the film works as each has a rooting value to them.

Sutter’s ex-girlfriend Cassidy, who he still has feelings for is played by Brie Larson, but the character is rather undeveloped, needless, and not much rooting value for her or competition for the main couple.

Interestingly, alcohol and alcoholism are touched on as the two leads drink quite heavily and regularly for being only eighteen years old, but glossed over and I think the film is more about the romance between the two rather than any social issues.

There are capable supporting performances by Jennifer Jason Leigh, Kyle Chandler, and Mary Elizabeth Winstead. Shailene Woodley received an Independent Spirit Award nomination for Best Actress, but sadly Miles Teller received no nomination and I am surprised as I thought he was a bit better than she was and certainly has the meatier role.

The Spectacular Now is hardly anything groundbreaking, but a nicely told story and has an authenticity to it that is admirable for a teen film.

Independent Spirit Award Nominations: Best Female Lead-Shailene Woodley, Best Screenplay

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