Sutter likes to drink. A lot. Like, really a lot. The fact that he is still in high school didn’t slow him down at all. In fact, he had no problem even getting served in bars in his small town. After his break up with Cassidy, he didn’t slow down.
After a party where Sutter got particularly drunk and tried to drive home, he is woken up in a neighbor’s yard by Aimee Finecky (Shailene Woodley), who was finishing up her mom’s paper route. The pair start to get to know each other as Sutter helps Aimee finish delivering the papers. Sutter later agrees to have lunch with Aimee. Aimee agrees to tutor Sutter to help get his grades up so he can graduate.
Over time, the two get close. So close, in fact, that Sutter gets Aimee, a preciously innocent girl, to start drinking as much as he does. A real bond develops between them. As they spend more and more time together, Sutter’s outlook on life starts to switch from the “live in the now” attitude to starting to look towards the future. He also finally gets the courage to confront his mom (Jennifer Jason Leigh) about meeting his dad (Kyle Chandler), who hasn’t been around most of his life.
Despite his relationship with Aimee, Sutter can’t quite get Cassidy out of his mind, even though she has a new boyfriend. Sutter realizes that he must face up to who and what he is if he wants to turn his life around.
The Spectacular Now takes a deep look at what I’m sure a lot of high schoolers go through these days. Sure, the story may be a bit exaggerated, but not so far as to be unbelievable. Sutter is dealing with being the popular kid, broken relationships, but family and romantic, and alcoholism.Based on the novel by Tim Tharp, it offers what may not necessarily be a wholly original story, but a very well presented one.
Miles Teller has come a long way since his run as Willard. Sure, he was likeable in the Footloose remake. In this role, he seems much more mature. He brings to life the emotions Sutter was going through as he navigated his way through the mess of his life. And there was real chemistry between him and both Brie Larson and Shailene Woodley, who, despite their attempts at making her look homely, comes across as cute as she is.
The emotion and tension build as the movie progresses, until it finally reaches a breaking point. The whole time, I was waiting for something very specific to happen. What eventually happens wasn’t exactly what I expected, but it made my jaw hit the floor. (I won’t give any details, so as not to spoil anything.)
The Spectacular Now is a poignant, touching movie. It doesn’t try to be anything that it’s not. It has enough humor and “feel good” to make it enjoyable and keep it from becoming too heavy, without losing focus of the story it is trying to tell.