Teen love can, often times, carry far too much angst on the silver screen. Sometimes this works in its favor, other times, not so much.
In the case of the ‘The Spectacular Now’ teenage angst is certainly present but never does it induce the eye rolling that usually comes along with it.
‘The Spectacular Now,’ which is based on the young adult novel of the same name follows high school senior Sutter, played brutally honest by Miles Teller, as he navigates through his final year of high school. Sutter is the textbook definition of a slacker. Likable, sure, but Sutter certainly give off the vibe of someone who’s going somewhere. During the film’s very first moments, Sutter’s longtime girlfriends takes notice of his slacking ways and dumps him. This leads Sutter on a alcoholic binge that ends in front lawn of the film’s other main character, Aimee, played by girl-of-the-moment Shailene Woodley. Aimee, very much unlike Sutter, actually cares about school and spends most of her time studying, reading comics or helping her mom out with her early morning paper route. Girls like Aimee don’t hang out with guys like Sutter.
However, despite their many differences, Aimee and Sutter start an end-of-year romance that ultimately fuels the remainder of the film.
The real beauty of ‘The Spectacular Now’ is the intimate and brooding way director James Ponsdolt tells the story of teenage romance. Ponsdolt tackles the subject with maturity and respect, two aspects that most filmmakers neglect. In terms of gripping storytelling, ‘The Spectacular Now,” isn’t exactly Indiana Jones. However, despite it’s ho-hum plot, Ponsdolt is able to make the inner workings of a adolescent relationship seem exciting, interesting and, dare I say, adult.
Much of this credit is due the acting duo of Woodley and Teller. Both young actors tackle their role with honesty and the chemistry between the two is chill-inducingly real. Its obvious to see why the two actors picked critical acclaim and accolade at this year’s past Sundance Film Festival.
With the combination of Teller and Woodley and the direction of Pendolts, “The Spectacular Now” is easily the best young adult movie of the summer.