The Spectacular Now

A hard-partying high school senior's philosophy on life changes when he meets the not-so-typical "nice girl."

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  • ★★★★½ review by DirkH on Letterboxd

    2013 seems to be the year of the coming of age film. First Mud, then The Kings of Summer and finally I had the pleasure of allowing the nostalgic honesty and painful recognition of The Spectacular Now wash over me. And of the three it is my favourite.

    When I was about protagonist Sutter's age, life was complex and pretty tough for me. I sort of lived by an 'it's better to burn out than to fade away' mentality. At that age, not knowing where you're going isn't that big of a problem, not seeing anything worth going towards is awful. It's not that I recognised anything in Sutter's character or situation, but his plight and outlook on life and the root of all his problems are basically the same as mine were. And that made The Spectacular Now a beautiful slap in the face.

    There is no sugarcoating here and the strongest thing the script manages to achieve is strike a chord without being melodramatic. Urged on by fantastic performances, The Spectacular Now goes from a lighthearted, affecting love story to a heartbreaking soul search of an irresistible protagonist.

    I can nitpick bits in the script where it skips over potentially strong thematic explorations a bit too easily, present most notably in the lack of development of the character of Aimee Finicky. I know this is essentially Sutter's story, but Aimee should have been more than just an enabler of Sutter's changes. I would have loved to have seen more about why she is the way she is, if only to understand some of her choices better.

    Still, this film resonated deeply within me, making me remember a period in my life I don't like remembering, but allowing it to happen anyway. And being absolutely fine with it wrecking me just a bit in the process as it made me remember that kicking yourself down is easy, getting up from that is the toughest thing there is, but once you do, the now can truly be spectacular.

    So I guess all that's left to say here is thank you.

    Thank you. Wholeheartedly.

  • ★★★★ review by Josh Larsen on Letterboxd

    The Spectacular Now recognizes that among the many divides high school creates for kids, one in particular looms larger as graduation approaches. It’s the divide between those who can see a future for themselves and those who can’t.

    Full review here.

  • ★★★★★ review by Rod Sedgwick on Letterboxd

    ''If I were your father, I guess this would be the part where I give you a lecture about what you're doing with yourself.''

    I had heard some rumblings about this film. They said that Miles Teller is a bright and shining beacon, Brie Larson is not in it enough and that this was going to be this years The Perks of Being a Wallflower. Those rumblings bounced me all the way to the bank here, because film charmed the absolute pants off me. Note perfect in all areas; from the razor script, the healthy array of talent dotted throughout (Larsen, Chandler and Odenkirk to name a few), in the way it brings the truth and lays it all out on the table, managing to tread sensitively where other films fumble in exploring it's the themes and issues, but most of all in the kinetic dynamics of Miles Teller (the most charismatically flawed charmer I have seen in aeons) and the luminous Shailene Woodley (this girl is a freakin' natural) and the way they captured my heart every time they entered the frame. I cannot think of anything that I would mark against the experience this offered me, and am truly humbled to be living in the afterglow of The Spectacular Now.

  • ★★★★★ review by Haydn Elmore on Letterboxd

    Man. I haven’t felt this deeply pure with with a romance since The Before Trilogy.

    It’s surly a film that I felt every honest felling about love, anger, emotional instability, discovering yourself, and trying to redeem yourself despite of your past or what destructive motives might pleg on you.

    Miles Teller and Shailine Woolley are too pure for this world. The way they enhabited the honest emotions of being young in love and the troubles that come within one self got to me in so many messed up emotions that I don’t know what to deal with it. 

    I wished I saw this earlier. But seeing what I’m going with college and the troubles in my life, it’s sort of fiting to watch it now then later.

  • ★★★★ review by jose on Letterboxd

    not to sound hetero but I would date shailene woodley from 2013, she’s so soft and adorable..

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