The Spectacular Now (2013): Somewhere Between the Past and the Future

Posted: April 20, 2014 in Comedy, Drama, Romance

spectacular-now-final-poster-406x600Sutter is quite the partier. Not taking his academics too seriously, he is friends with nearly everybody. After a party one night, he finds himself waking up to one of his classmates poking him while he lays on the ground in someone’s front yard. Having a quick attraction to the understated beauty, he starts to spend more and more time with her. While he influences her to start drinking more and take more charge in her life, she begins to break down his emotional walls and forces him to start thinking about his life a little more differently. Still hung up on his past love and unsure about the relationships within his family, he continues to try to keep himself at a safe distance from Aimee as to not feel too committed. Things are changing all around him and now Sutter has to decide if he wants to continue to live in the now or begin to plan for the future.

Starring: Miles Teller (Sutter), Shailene Woodley (Aimee), Brie Larson (Cassidy), Masam Holden (Ricky), Dayo Okeniyi (Marcus), Kyle Chandler (Tommy), Jennifer Jason Leigh (Sara), Nicci Faires (Tara), Ava London (Bethany), Whitney Goin (Aimee’s Mom), Andre Royo (Mr. Aster)

While Miles Teller typically plays the supporting role, this was his chance to take the lead. As a wayward high school student, he fairly accurately represented the sense of unsureness that many young people struggle with in their late teens. While he seemed to get away with a lot of drinking throughout the film, his changes were very apparent between the beginning and end. Shailene Woodley also continued to prove how she is the next great actress. Presenting the kind girl-next-door vibe, she mixed a tentativeness with a sense of purpose that matched well in the story-telling.

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James Ponsoldt’s adaptation of the young adult novel made for quite the story of a somewhat lost young adult’s coming to terms with his life. Sutter was unaware of a lot about his current situation, as he was continually numbing himself with alcohol. His parents had divorced and he felt disconnected from almost everybody. At the same time, the alcohol helped to fuel his partying ways and ability to seem like he was everybody’s friend. Aimee helped him start making changes in his life, but it was the meeting with his father that served as the most significant catalyst in his maturation. He never knew that his father left him and his sister behind. Instead, the meeting with his father finally allowed Sutter and his mother to come to terms with their fractured relationship and start to repair what had been lost. These changes also seemed to change his perspective about living in the now, as his father failed to make anything of himself because of that philosophy.

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The relationship with Aimee was a rather interesting one. While Ricky thought that Sutter was trying to rebound off of Cassidy, he was actually falling in love with something new and different than the hookups that had been occurring between Cassidy and other students in his class. He had not completely changed, so he was still holding onto hope with Cassidy, even though she never let herself fully reconnect. Aimee was the good girl he had never given the time of day, and even she was changing through their relationship. She began to drink more often like Sutter and let herself experience a lot of relationship firsts. They struggled in most part due to Sutter’s immaturity, but Aimee gave him chance after chance until he missed her departure to Philadelphia for college. While he took an opportunity to try and repair his relationship with his mom and make a tough choice about thinking about his future, he decided to take a trip out east and see if he could continue the best thing he had ever had with Aimee.

This is a beautiful story, though it also struggles from a somewhat slower first half. The film definitely served as a great representation of the futures of Teller and Woodley.

Dan’s Rating: 3.5/5


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