Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Review: The Spectacular Now

Release date: August 2, 2013 (August 9 in the DC area)
Running time: 100 minutes
Starring: Miles Teller, Shailene Woodley, Brie Larson, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Kyle Chandler
Who to see it with:


After a night of binge drinking, hard-partying, outgoing high school senior Sutter awakens to the sight of nerdy, "nice girl" Aimee hovering over him. They become friends despite their differences, and inspire change within one another in both positive and negative ways. Teller is fairly charming as Sutter, an unambitious goofball whose drinking may relate to darker, hidden feelings. Woodley is sweet as the somewhat naive, possibly too trusting Aimee.

At first, TSN seems like a fairly standard "opposites attract" teen romance, albeit one with authentic characters and dialogue. It explores topics often seen in coming of age stories, but in a natural, understated way that avoids sanitizing high school behavior (hence the R rating). I don't think I've seen alcohol play such a significant, yet subtle, role in a teen movie. It takes a few unexpected dramatic turns in its final act and, unlike many similar films, the characters' issues aren't all neatly resolved by the film's end. The Spectacular Now often feels familiar and anything but spectacular, but its occasional surprises make it unlike the standard coming of age story.

Rent it.

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