Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Movie Review: "The Spectacular Now" (2013)

Movie: "The Spectacular Now"
Director: James Ponsoldt
Rating: R
Running Time: 1 hour, 35 minutes
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This frank coming-of-age story about an alcoholic senior in high school named Sutter Keely (Miles Teller), who is primarily interested in enjoying his young adult life, and is not too concerned about the future. He's extremely charming and well liked, but is constantly drunk, even at work and school. After a night of partying after breaking up with his girlfriend, Sutter ends up passed out on a lawn and is found by Aimee Finicky (Shailene Woodley) while she's delivering newspapers. Sutter and Aimee grow closer, all while he is dealing with lingering feelings for his ex-girlfriend, plus issues with his mother Sara (Jennifer Jason Leigh), who has not let him see his father Tommy (Kyle Chandler) for several years. Sutter helps Aimee come out of her social shell and helps her gain the courage to tell her mother that she wants to leave the state and go to school in Philadelphia.

This movie is definitely an honest portrayal of teenage life and the troubles teens face. So many movies today sugarcoat everything and make life seem great in an unbelievable supermodel and jock infested high school existence. Very rarely is a coming-of-age film put out with normal looking, average teenagers (half of the time, the actors and actresses playing teenagers are well into their late 20's and 30's). This smart casting decision makes the story wholly more believable.

Shailene Woodley and Miles Teller are fantastic in this movie, they give truly great performances. Teller's character is the class clown type who has to act like nothing phases him, while Woodley is a more reserved, introverted, geeky girl who wears her emotions on her sleeve. I thought they performed extremely well together and we believed the entire time that this story could (and has) happened at some point, somewhere. Their chemistry make this movie funny at times, sad at times, and generally gut-wrenching throughout the film. On a personal note, the relationship that Sutter has with his dad sort of reminds me of my own "relationship" with my father, and it really hit home for me.

I wouldn't be surprised if we see some award nods for these two down the road (Shailene Woodley has already been nominated for the best supporting actress Golden Globe award for "The Descendants").

My Rating: 7.5/10
BigJ's Rating:. 7.5/10
IMDB's Rating: 7.5/10
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 92%
Do we recommend this movie: Yes!

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