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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    ‘Spectacular Now’ an honest drama on American teens

    21+Laps+Entertainment
    21 Laps Entertainment

    Sutter Keely (Miles Teller) lives in the “now.” He’s the life of the party at his high school, alongside his girlfriend, and isn’t worried about the future. In fact, he’s adverse to the very idea of moving forward in life. After his girlfriend dumps him, he goes out for a night of drinking and wakes up in the front yard of Aimee Finicky (Shailene Woodley, “The Secret Life of the American Teenager”).

    A quiet, beautiful girl, Aimee keeps to herself and is embarrassed by the idea of anyone being romantically interested in her. A relationship begins to naturally form between the two. Though not perfect, “The Spectacular Now” is a film largely devoid of any of the classic “boy-meets-girl” pretenses.

    The film, for the most part, is remarkable in its sincere portrayal of an average American teenagers life. There are no cliches to be found with these characters.

    Sutter might not be the type to last very long in a relationship, but one wouldn’t go so far as to classify him as a “player” and he’s always willing to help out a friend. Aimee is an avid reader of science-fiction manga, and although she’s never been in a relationship before, she doesn’t fall under the cookie-cutter category of a “prude” or “anti-social nerd.” She’s willing to venture out of her comfort zone with Sutter. Their relationship, which Sutter believed wouldn’t last more than a month or so, blossoms organically into one of the best and most honest screen romances of the year, thanks to Teller and Woodley’s compassionate performances.

    The story is set in a small, sleepy town. This lends the film a distinctly quaint and self-contained atmosphere.

    A major aspect of the film is Sutter’s drinking. His oversized, gas station Thirst Master always has some booze in it.

    He drinks on the job and while driving. When he’s not sucking liquor through a straw, he’s stealing swigs of it from a flask.
    Furthermore, Sutter buys Aimee a flask of her own to celebrate their senior prom. The substance, and its consequences, are maturely handled motifs on the part of filmmaker James Ponsoldt.
    The film expands on a subplot involving Sutter’s absent father (Kyle Chandler, “Friday Night Lights”) roughly two-thirds of the way through the nearly 100 minute runtime. Sutter finally meets his father again after years of not hearing from him.

    This is a diversion from the main plot, which could have been executed better. Though it is hinted at, Sutter meeting his father still seems abrupt. Then, on the way back from meeting him, a car accident occurs, which also seems unnecessary to the point of cliché. This choice of transition into the resolution feels forced.

    At the end of the movie, everything is not wrapped up in a pretty bow. This ambiguity is another of the film’s strengths. Though there are uncertainties, Sutter is actively moving toward a future, whatever it may be.

    “The Spectacular Now” is currently playing at Century 20 El Con theater.

    Grade: B

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