Caroline Madden, ‘Doah Staff Writer
October 2, 2013
From the writers of “500 Days of Summer,” and the director of the indie hit “Smashed” comes “The Spectacular Now,” based on the book by Tim Tharp.
High school senior Sutter is a charismatic ladies man, with a flair for snappy repartee and quips for every occasion. Although his cleverness could be seen as shallow and aggressive, Sutter has an empathetic and truthful sweetness to him.
However, underneath it all Sutter is a functioning alcoholic, unable to get through a day without sips from his flask or spiked soda cup.
Miles Teller plays Sutter, giving both the magnetic charm and heartbreaking tenderness needed for his journey throughout the film.
After Sutter is dumped, he enters a rebound relationship with the quiet and bookish Aimee, played by the delightful Shailene Woodley. They have their differences, Aimee has never had a boyfriend or been to party, while Sutter lives for parties and has had plenty of relationships.
At first the audience is unsure if he is just using her or not. But soon Aimee and Sutter find that they both come from dysfunctional families, and their simple flirting and friendship develops into an intimate love.
“The Spectacular Now” seemed like it would be just another typical love story. We’ve seen before in romantic films how the love of a girl gives a guy the strength to save himself. But “The Spectacular Now” is more about the journey of the self. The film explores the ultimate coming-of-age question: “what am I going to do with my life?” Sutter lives in the now, he does not see any future for himself.
“The Spectacular Now” is an unexpected and poignant look at teenage life. What is striking about this film is that it is incredibly genuine. All of the actors, especially Teller and Woodley, bring an authenticity to their characters, giving the film true heart.
On par with classic coming-of-age films such as “The Breakfast Club” and “Say Anything,” “The Spectacular Now” captures both the turmoil and beauty of teenage life.