One Minute Review: The Spectacular Now (2013)

Release Date
August 2, 2013
Director
James Ponsoldt
Screenplay
Scott Neustadter
Michael H. Weber
Based On The Novel By
Tim Tharp
Distributed By
A24
Budget
$2.5 million
Comedy, Drama, Romance
Rated R for alcohol use, language and some sexuality – all involving teens
95 minutes

The Spectacular Now

In one of the most subtle and engaging coming of age films this year, “The Spectacular Now” not only captures the essence of being a senior in high school, it portrays an adolescent relationship in a realistic and unique way. Unlike most dramas of this nature, there’s no jealous or cheating, no lies and melodrama, these characters come off as real human beings, especially Miles Teller’s Sutter Keely, whose unabashed frankness brings a memorable dynamic to his character. Shailene Woodley has absolute control over her performance, providing an innocence that breathes so real, it’s hard not to take her as authentic. Even Brie Larson delivers a knock-out performance, reflecting the intangible desire with undeniable brilliance, one of her best showings to date. However, Mary Elizabeth Winstead and Jennifer Jason Leigh are both stiff in their roles, perhaps in order to reflect Sutter’s straight-faced home life, but to no favors to themselves, they read false.

Along those lines, the film follows a high school senior and his descent into alcoholism and the uncertainty that the future holds. These are all relatable topics, but the characters fail to realize these shortcomings and are never allowed to become fully realized. Instead, he get Sutter, who is always drinking, Cassidy (Brie Larson), who is constantly leading Sutter on, and Aimee (Shailene Woodley), who descends with Sutter, her first ever boyfriend, never asking him to change and following along with his somewhat self-destructive behavior. By the end of the film, we’re not sure anyone actually learned anything and being a huge fan of open endings, I still feel there needed to be more elaboration. With several breakout performances and a sincere, original story, “The Spectacular Now” is a very strong Independent film, but unfortunately will not rank as one of the best of the year.

 

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