The Spectacular Now follows Sutter Keely (Miles Teller), the popular and charming drunk teen with the seemingly perfect life. The life of every party, he is thrown a loop when he meets Aimee (Shailene Woodley) who finds him one morning asleep on her lawn after a night of drinking. Shy, smart, and a lover of sci-fi novels Aimee begins tutoring Sutter to keep him from failing math and they slowly develop a friendship that eventually moves into a budding romance. Haunted by the non-presence of his deadbeat father, Sutter becomes convinced that tracking him down will give him the closure he needs and the answers to his deeper questions about his own identity.
This is based on the book by the same name by Tim Tharp, which was already a favorite of mine before I watched the movie. I must say they did a fantastic job of adapting the material, and its one of the few movies I think does the book complete justice. The chemistry between the two leads is incredibly palpable and Teller delivers an especially complex performance as he deals with Sutter’s complex relationship with himself and his effect on those around him. Genuinely a good hearted person he struggles to manage his growing dependence on alcohol and his behavior towards the ones he loves.
Although the friends I watched it with were not pleased with the somewhat vague ending I think that it rounded out the story well and didn’t force us to decide whether Amy and Sutter were ever really that good for each other. I think it could be a divisive opinion, because they really do interact well together and his ex-girlfriend Cassidy (Brie Larson) leaves a lot to be desired, even though she has some genuinely sweet moments too.
An overall compelling story with likeable leads and a true testament to the acting ability of Miles Teller, who kind of overshadows Woodley, but who’s character is supposed to draw attention to himself. They both work off of and learn from each other and she ends up forcing him to take stock of his own demons and ultimately pushes him to be better. A love story with a few twists and turns and genuine emotional moments, The Spectacular Now is a film you should watch spectacularly now.
Amy’s Recommendation: 10/10