“The Spectacular Now” gives an honest look into how intense young love can be. Miles Teller is charismatic as life-of-the-party high school senior Sutter. He is not classically good-looking, but his personality makes him attractive to everyone. He literally seems to draw people in. That’s what he does with Aimee (Shailene Woodley) or maybe it’s vice-versa. They are the epitome of opposites attract. He, the silly party animal and she, the shy, selfless gal next door and together they find a kind of love that allows each of them to be exposed.
At the beginning of the movie, Sutter has just broken up with his equally popular girlfriend. Yet, neither seem too heartbroken over the split. He is so happy-go-lucky, you wonder if anything bothers him at all. Then you realize after constantly seeing a flask or alcohol-filled cup in his hand, he’s not bothered because he’s either buzzed or hungover as he handles his problems.
As he and Aimee go further into their relationship, you see a deeper level to Sutter and why he acts the way he does. The relationship reminded me of a younger version of the relationship Matt Damon had with Minnie Driver in “Good Will Hunting.” Young, semi-broken people looking to each other to move on from past pain.
Things turn messy when Aimee begins to get too close after a disappointing trip she and Sutter take to track down his dad (Kyle Chandler). As they face graduation and each of them pursuing different paths, Sutter finds that he might not have the same vision of the future as she does. The story is one that has been spun in a million different directions over the years, but the chemistry between Teller and Woodley is remarkable. Alone they are fantastic, but together you don’t want to take your eyes off of them. Even as they go through the pains of growing up and realizing that the world has rough surprises, their idealism and fresh start mentality is infectious.
This movie made me a new fan of Woodley (who didn't wear any makeup for this movie by the way). I felt her performance far exceeded that of “The Descendants.” It's not too happy and not too sad. The performances and the movie itself felt very real with situations that aren't so far-fetched that they couldn't have happened to someone you know. At a run time of 95 minutes, it's a rather short stay in "The Spectacular Now."
Final words: Fresh faces give new life to the girl-changes-boy-for-the-better romantic dramedy.