For Your Consideration: The Spectacular Now

If your best years were in high school, then you might want to re-think your life. The Spectacular Now is a coming of age romance, with a little more meat to it than just “boy meets girl…blah, blah, blah”. The two main characters, Sutter Keely, (Miles Teller) and Aimee Finecky, (Shailene Woodley) are complicated in their own way, yet different enough to keep the dynamic interesting.

We meet Sutter at a time in his life when his long-time girlfriend has broken up with him and his high school life is coming to a close, that singular moment when adulthood really needs to kick in. But thanks to his laid-back attitude and his constant flask of booze, he is able to push that moment out of his life as much as possible, until one morning when he wakes from a drunken stupor on the lawn of a girl he barely knows, Aimee Finecky. He and Aimee have little in common at first. She isn’t popular, she’s very responsible, and she’s college bound. She picks Sutter up from her front lawn and he joins her on her morning paper route.  Sutter quickly warms to Aimee’s kind spirit and within weeks the two drink, party, and have awkward sex. Through this blossoming romance Aimee stays pretty grounded, while Sutter is still running from adulthood.

Sutter’s family life is a big part of his drinking.  He lives with his mom, and believes his dad was kicked out for cheating on her.  His mom has kept the dad’s whereabouts a secret to protect Sutter, but he insists on finding him.  Aimee who also misses her dad, who passed away, sympathizes with Sutter and goes on the long drive to find his dad.  No surprise, his dad is an alcoholic looser, and the painful meeting leads Sutter to drink and drive, nearly killing himself and Aimee on the way home. The severity of the accident forces Sutter to grow up and also shines a light on how much Aimee means to him.

So yes, boy meets girl, boy falls in love, and blah, blah, blah, but it was an interesting journey and Teller and Woodley deliver very believable performances.  As is often the case, when adults write dialogue for teens, it seems dated and unrealistic, but the dialogue here flows very naturally, giving the film the heart and soul that is needed.

The Spectacular Now is not spectacular by any means, but it’s a good enough movie to watch on a rainy day at home.

Rating- 3 stars

Pat Sue Gentry

Pat Sue is a contributing writer for Trashwire.com, bringing her unique style to film reviews and pop culture commentary. In addition to blogging, she is also Trashwire’s primary photojournalist.

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