Movie Review: The Spectacular Now (2013)

Even though the movie itself isn’t set in Athens the fact that it was filmed there was what drew me to the movie.  With the great reviews that followed I got to check the movie out, and found it to be simple and a great depiction of characters growing up. It’s something that adults and teens can watch, and it will feel real for both. The teen premise isn’t just for teens. I also like the vibe that while the top layer reads as a romantic, strong depiction of teenagers, that it also has this underlying message that the teens still have a lot to learn about life at the end of the movie.

Summary: Sutter is a high school student who has no aspirations beyond high school, and he might not even care if that is where he ends up as long as he can. After a break up with his girlfriend, he lives it up in a night of partying and wakes up in a lawn to meet Aimee. Aimee might just be the girl who can change the direction he is going in. Aimee though has her own overbearing mom, and while Aimee might be helping tutor him through school he wants to help her stand up for herself and her decisions to move away.

Acting: The acting really is great especially for a cast where the majority are new faces. Miles Teller has been in a lot of party high school movies, and though Sutter is much like that he also has some elements that make him a better showcasing of his acting talents. Sutter seems to have some hesitance that the adult life is something he wants to move on to, and as any teen he has trouble with authority. There is one that might give new insight appreciation for the life he’s been living though, and that is finally meeting his dad and see if his mom has been right about the guy. There is also Shailene Woodley as Aimee, and she shows that her career is blooming. She makes her seem like a real teenage girl that is really wanting a boy’s attention but also scared to death of losing him. She is also finding her own way, and it would be interesting to see how this two ends up in the future.

Filming: The filming is quite simple, and since this is the only movie I’ve seen with James Ponsoldt I couldn’t give you a strong style of characteristics. Lots of pretty moments are captured well that show some good contrast. Like when the the pair are at prom, the romantic vibe is brought to life, and when you have them standing at a jukebox. There are also some scenes that build up some intense moments and do well with the lighting and shadows used.

Plot: The plot is one I think many could relate to. Whether you’re older or younger I think the movie captures the overall vibe of being young. Even if you didn’t drink, you could maybe relate to some of Aimee’s position of feeling obligated to helping her mother or perhaps Sutter’s inability to get to know his father. There are also other issues addressed like drinking, and Sutter’s life that is lacking with aspiration. Each character has something positive to offer to make up for their faults as well though. The movie may allude to a conclusive ending though, but in hindsight this movie leaves you with many questions, and while it seems that characters are getting it together it seems new problems might have begun for some. While Sutter is trying to kick his drinking and be a real man for Aimee, he also had seemed to have caused her a strong interest in the substance, and despite their love he has put her into some dangerous situations, and her attachment and lack of anger toward him seems unhealthy.

The Spectacular Now has an obvious theme that the movie explores working but also because of what we are trying to make of our past and future. While living in the now might be all you have in that moment without a future you don’t have any hope for the now. Sutter and Aimee also feel like real people, and their problems couldn’t ever be summed up in one movie no matter how long you tried to make it.

Rating 8 of 10.

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