The Spectacular Now Movie Review
Miles Teller delivers a defining performance and Shailene Woodley makes you question why she was dropped from the next Spider-Man movie in The Spectacular Now, an engaging drama about a teenage romance... a - gasp! - believable teenage romance.
Not shocking at all, given that the movie is from the guys who did (500) Days of Summer.
Teller stars as Sutter, a popular funny guy at his high school who has just been dumped by his girlfriend. After falling into a drunken stupor, he meets Aimee (Shailene Woodley), a down-to-earth every girl who he immediately takes a liking to. The two bond and form an unlikely relationship, though Sutter's personal demons threaten everything they've built together.
Much like in (500) Days of Summer, which focused on the frustrating but believable relationship between two young people, The Spectacular Now focuses on the frustrating but believable relationship between two young people. There are two key differences: 1) the movie leans more toward drama than comedy; and 2) the movie is about the development of a relationship, not the disintegration of on.
Well written and directed, The Spectacular Now captures the joys and frustrations of teen romance extremely well. The movie is funny at times, dramatic at others, and one of the film's final scenes is among the best all year.
Bbut it's Teller and Woodley who bring the story to life. The two won a well-deserved shared Special Jury Prize for acting at the Sundance Film Festival; they have great chemistry together and Teller especially makes a claim for more recognition. For those who saw Teller in Rabbit Hole, you'll agree such recognition is long overdue.
The Spectacular Now is not spectacular, but it's still extremely good. Featuring two strong performances and a moving screenplay, the movie is one of the year's best so far.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.