Tuesday, October 1, 2013

The Spectacular Now: Movie Review

Floats around life with two good performances.

“The Spectacular Now” is about one character trying to live in the now. Sutter (Miles Teller) is applying to university using swear words and has no qualms about the amount of alcohol he drinks. The film is light enough in the beginning that it seems okay to laugh, but nobody did. It just wasn’t funny enough. The lack of comedy suggested the film was going to get darker, but it took too long to get there.   2013

Directed by: James Ponsoldt

Screenplay by: Scott Neustadter and Michael H. Weber

Starring: Miles Teller, Shailene Woodley

There was a connection to the characters that was missing, but that’s a likely consequence of having a main character trying to float above life. Sutter survives off his charm, magnetic-appeal and likability and he rarely feels any urgency in maturing. Which also means the film takes its time floating around Sutter as he floats above life. But before we really get to know Sutter, he is very entertaining. Miles Teller is just fantastic at comedic line delivery and gives Sutter a great rhythm and energy to his non-chalant-ness.

Before too long, Sutter meets a girl. Aimee (Shailene Woodley) comes from a similarly damaging family, but she’s trying her hardest to make a new life for herself. Aimee’s not Sutter’s usual type of girl. She’s genuine, sweet, honest, caring and likable. She’s not like Sutter at all, and their pairing proves to be beneficial to the film and quite possibly to each other. But why actually work at life when you can just float above it? It's going to take an awful lot for Sutter to mature, and while Aimee is great, her presence probably isn't enough.

Teller gives a fairly remarkable performance as Sutter. He doesn’t strike me as the charismatic type but his line delivery and his ability to show the nuances within his character make you forget that. Woodley is her beautiful self and portrays another earnest teenage girl. Their romantic pairing is certainly better than most recent teenager films.

But then the film gets into the family drama of Aimee and Sutter's failing home lives. And here it sort of fails because it's not funny, it's not dark to really provide a grittiness to the drama, it's just dramatic without anything special enough.

“The Spectacular Now” is about living in the “now” which at every point seems very much like the past and the future. It just takes too long to provide anything significant at the core of Sutter that Teller's performance and his connection to Woodley's Aimee isn't quite enough.

Similar Titles:

The Perks of Being a Wallflower (2012) - Uplifting teenage drama with humour, heart and soul.

The First Time (2012) - Proves that teen romances can be sweet and charming.

That Awkward Moment (2014) - Funny moments and moments that just fall flat.