For high school senior Sutter Keely (Miles Teller) it’s all about the now. So when his girlfriend Cassidy (Brie Larson) dumps him out of the blue, he goes on a drinking spree to drown his sorrows, ending with him passed out in someone’s front lawn. Here, for the very first time, he meets fellow classmate Aimee Finecky (Shailene Woodley). With Sutter’s car nowhere in sight, he insists on helping Aimee with her mother’s paper route as a means to locate his car. What begins as an innocent friendship soon turns into a blossoming romance with one flask-fueled kiss. As Sutter continues down a one-way road to alcoholism, his ties with family and Aimee are tested as he struggles with planning his future and searching for his father. Despite having the biggest heart, Sutter can’t seem to get his act together, causing him to fall apart in the penultimate scene.
Compared to other coming-of-age films, The Spectacular Now is poignantly real. It’s incredible how well director James Ponsoldt captures the truth behind every scene, every emotion. Originally a novel by Tim Tharp, writers of Scott Neustadter and Michael H. Weber, known for (500) Days of Summer, wonderfully translate Tharp’s work to the big screen. But it is stars Teller and Woodley who are a revelation, boasting great charisma and depth in their performances. The Spectacular Now soars, striking you right in the heart. As the credits roll across the screen, an unexpected feeling of hope fills your soul, letting you know that everything is going to be okay.