Film Review – The Spectacular Now (2013)

Spectac - post

Title – The Spectacular Now (2013)

Director – James Ponsoldt (Smashed)

Cast – Miles Teller, Shailene Woodley, Brie Larson, Kyle Chandler, Jennifer Jason Lee, Andre Royo, Bob Odenkirk, Mary Elizabeth Winstead

Plot – Care free and careless teen Sutter (Teller) has his life course changed upon meeting with and falling in love with a girl completely different to him in the form of Aimee (Woodley). Sutter’s relationship with Aimee awakens a new perspective on life and old wounds relating to his own family, but his greatest battle lies within himself.

“This right here. This is beautiful. All of this. That’s all you need”

Review by Eddie on 02/06/2014

Layered, gritty yet in equal measure funny and featuring a star making turn from its male lead Miles Teller (it’s not hard to see why he was cast in the Fantastic 4 reboot), James Ponsoldt’s examination of teen love and entering into the world of adulthood is an often stunning piece of work that is rightfully regarded as one of last year’s best and a festival darling the world over.

The Spectacular Now, safe to say, is a highly original and heartfelt tale that will take the viewer to places that are unexpected and all the more affecting because of it. Anchoring Ponsoldt’s film is Miles Teller as the seemingly always drinking and always comical Sutter, a popular and well known member of the school community whose care-free attitude marks a deeper and more personal issue regarding his family and upbringing. Teller without question is this films heart and soul, giving a performance so well acted that you sense in the right marketplace awards could’ve been coming his way. Sutter is a fantastically well written character and one you grow to care for even when wrong decisions are made and by the films last act there are some truly heartbreaking and raw scenes that will leave a lasting impression on the viewer. Teller is well supported by rising star Shailene Woodley as love interest Aimee but really the other star of the film is the behind the scenes work.

Written by 500 Days of Summer writing duo Scott Neustadter and Michael H. Weber, The Spectacular Now in many respects shares similarities to their 2009 hit but has more focus on the less whimsical aspects of love and instead has more of life’s harsher moments. With a script that is consistent in either being razor sharp funny or soul piercingly real there are too many scenes to pick from in talking up the joys of the films screenplay but the opening monologue, or a later scene with Sutter and his boss Dan played by Bob Odenkirk (nice to see Saul from Breaking Bad once more), are particular highlights with Ponsoldt’s keen direction another major plus for the film after his great film Smashed showed so much promise previously.

If you’re looking for a typical teen romance/coming of age type film The Spectacular Now will not satisfy your needs, but if you’re seeking a film that walks the line almost perfectly between romantic comedy and heartbreaking family drama this is the film for you. For all involved a grand achievement and an under-seen film worth seeking out.

4 drinks in hand out of 5

24 responses to “Film Review – The Spectacular Now (2013)

  1. Adored this film when I saw it a few months ago. As you said it goes in unexpected directions, avoiding high school clichés and gives the characters an authenticity that’s all too rare. Decent soundtrack too. The best teen movie I’ve seen in years. Great review.

    • Agreed on all points there Rich, would of loved to have seen this rewarded a little more by audiences and also awards but in the end you get the feeling it has a long life ahead of it as more and more people discover its really quite touching details.

    • Didn’t even think upon that comparison mate but your very right, 2 films in many ways similar including there quality. Cheers for the kind words.

  2. A movie more teens should see, as it deals with something very important one has to approach with life, and that’s failure. Good review Ed.

    • Absolutely man, one they should almost show in school. Wouldn’t mind studying that one in English class I think, just a really relatable and honest tale.

  3. Needless to say, I love the film, but I would’ve included a separate paragraph on Shailene Woodley’s terrific performance. Mostly because I’m a fanboy. 😉
    Great review, as always.

    • I must admit I am pretty keen to one day read the book. The film felt totally original in it’s take on the teen romance genre and it really showcased the talents of Teller and Woodley.

      • Absolutely! They showed Whiplash at my local film festival and it was sold out within minutes. Everyone wanted to see it and they were all really impressed after watching it, as far as I could tell.

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