Posted by Julia Mahony
"The Spectacular Now" is a must see. As people who have graduated high school recently and have college graduation on the horizon, it is easy to relate to imminent transitions in the characters' own lives. The film has been compared to "Say Anything" and "The Perks of Being a Wallflower," smash hits and timeless classics in this genre. Since there are so many phony depictions of romance involving people our age in film, it is refreshing to see a genuine portrayal with no sugarcoating.
"The Spectacular Now" begins with a portrait of a hedonistic young man. Sutter Keely (Miles Teller) is the beloved class clown, and, in his own words, "the life of every party." He views himself as the king of living in the moment. Things aren't too bad for Sutter either. He has a popular girlfriend and a great job, not to mention everyone likes him. However, no one takes him seriously. Sutter refuses to even think about the future, because he is too busy living in the now. As a high school senior, he is alone in his refusal to acknowledge the impending changes coming his way, resulting in his girlfriend choosing to break up with him. Sutter deals with this emotional blow the same way he deals with everything, by drinking. The next morning he is found by classmate Aimee Finicky (Shailene Woodley) passed out on her lawn. After offering to help her with her paper route, the two become friends.
The heart of the movie is in its authenticity. Sutter and Aimee's relationship with one another is convincingly awkward at first. Rather than some grand romantic proposal, the two organically grow closer to one another over time. Sutter helps Aimee stand up for herself and she gets Sutter to admit to emotions that he has kept masterfully hidden from others, as well as himself. One of the most unique aspects of this film, in regard to its genre, is that events that are usually emphasized, such as prom and graduation, just happen like other events in the characters lives. No life-changing revelations occur during these events, but rather the changes take place in a more realistic ways, when the characters are at their most vulnerable. Teller and Woodley deliver truly palpable performances. The honesty with which they convey the story is original and poignant. Both actors were awarded the Sundance special Jury Award for their work in this film.
"The Spectacular Now" will be playing at the Saratoga Film Forum this weekend on Thursday, Nov. 7 and Friday, Nov. 8 7p.m., as well as Sunday, Nov. 10, at 3.pm.