The Spectacular Now (2013) – Film Review

The Spectacular NowThe Spectacular Now

Starring Shailene Woodley and Miles Teller

Directed by James Ponsoldt, based on the novel by Tim Tharp

IMDB Rating 7.2

An incredibly natural film that centres around two characters, the target audience and their dream boyfriend(ish)! A recipe for success if you ask me.

Sutter Keely (Teller) is a high school senior determined to live in the moment. He loves himself, is the self-claimed life of every party and has made no plans for the future. After a heavy night out alone he ends up passed out on a strangers lawn, woken by Aimee Finecky (Woodley). Aimee is the typical ‘nice girl’ – smart, hard working, into comic books and focused on the future. She also has never had a boyfriend. As they hang out they get drawn to each other, developing a relationship that surprises, and worries, everyone around them.

I’m quickly apologising in advance, we have a different education system in England than you do in the States, so if I get some of the terminology wrong, you know what I mean! Anyway…

This is a story that is really hard to explain. I think I changed the ending of my description five times before just settling for ‘it surprises everyone around them’! It is just a very natural story about two high school students with different ideas about where they are going with their lives after prom night. The film works because of the characters created by Tim Tharp more than anything else – Sutter is an exciting character with many dimensions to his personality, and Aimee Finecky is a very sweet girl that the audience can not only get behind but also someone that The Spectacular Now’s target market can strongly relate to. Forgive me if you disagree (I certainly don’t fit into this mould!) but I think most teen-romance films will appeal to ‘Aimee Finecky’s’ – shy, young girls that are looking for their own love story and their own Mr popular/Sutter Keeley style boyfriend. Films like this only work if the characters love is believable and if the characters are relatable, two boxes ticked emphatically by The Spectacular Now.

I’m not sure I’ve ever seen a teen-romance film with such a connection between the two leads. Their chemistry is uncanny. I think I read somewhere that Miles Teller and Shailene Woodley are good friends in real life, which is probably the key to their performances here. If either of these two didn’t perform as they did then this film wouldn’t be half as good as it is – which makes it hard to pick a favourite of the two. If I had to plump for one over the other I think I would give it to Woodley – simply because there is just a bit more emotion in her performances than Teller’s, but that is harsh on him!

The directing by James Ponsoldt is okay, but not incredible. It’s also really uncomplicated, all he had to do was make it believable and real, and he has achieved that. It is worth noting however that there is some well directed scenes in the film – particularly during the slow song at prom, where the music and the shots are just right to emphasise Sutter’s ‘big speech’.

There’s not much else to say except that this is categorically my favourite romance movie, with two of my favourite young actors! I beg you to see this film!

Seen The Spectacular Now? Tell us what you thought! Also, if you know a better romance film than this then tell me why, because I haven’t seen it!

Psst, you. Yeah, you. The Spectacular Now is on YouTube (until someone notices): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GcddBWpn6eY, enjoy!

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