Mini-Review: The Spectacular Now (2013) Is a Solid Coming-of-Age Comedy, Romance, Drama, Whatever Genre They Were Going For

Sutter (Miles Teller) is a hard-partying high school senior, who was just dumped by his long-time girlfriend Cassidy (Brie Larson). Now what? More partying of course. After a heavy night of drinking and driving and being silly, Sutter wakes up on Aimee’s (Shailene Woodley) front lawn. The two become friends first and lovers afterwards. It all seems to be going swell, but there’s some dark shit in Sutter’s past. He never really knew his father (Kyle Chandler) and so Aimee pushes him to get in contact with him. That doesn’t prove to be the most pleasant of experiences and it may even threaten his relationship with Aimee. So what does he do now? Maybe taking it easy on the good ole alco-hole wouldn’t be such a bad idea, right? 

After Smashed last year, another movie about drinking and another movie starring the amiable Mary Elizabeth Winstead, director James Ponsoldt is back with a coming-of-age flick. It’s a decent film. Lots of indie rock, lush cinematography, pretty actors, sweet one-liners and scenes that make your heart beat faster. Unfortunately, the screenplay is a bit “inconsistent” for lack of a better term. The film’s tonal shifts and unsuccessful blending of different genres make this a bit of a confusing experience. Granted it’s about kids and them proving all kinds of different emotions at once, but the film itself should be more mature (or maybe not). At the same time the characters speak as if they magically benefited from life experience that’s way beyond their years. Everyone has some sassy life advice or mundane wisdom to give.

Aside from that the film is enjoyable, mainly for the cast’s solid performances. I was especially impressed by the leads, but everyone seems to be on top of their game here. I was kind of surprised that Sutter’s almost out of control drinking wasn’t commented or condemned more, though maybe if they did that it would have come off as preachy. We all know that drinking and driving is bad, come on! Well, everyone expect for some celebrities. I like how the film ends. It’s pretty clear what’s going to happen next, but leaving it to the viewer’s imagination makes it so much better. I also like that the film doesn’t claim to have the solution for everything and sometimes we really need to be reminded to live in the moment, because we’re human and we forget.

Rating on First Viewing: 7 out of 10


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