THE SPECTACULAR NOW: REVIEW – “We’ll never be younger than we are tonight” says Sutter Keely (Miles Teller), a young fella who appreciates that this is it, this is as good as it gets.
Partying, drinking, working his Saturday job, scraping through school, Sutter is a carefree charismatic young fellow on the cusp of adulthood. Okay, his dad is AWOL and he’s just broken up with the love of his life Cassidy (Brie Larson), but he isn’t going to let that get him down. And soon enough he’s embarked on a new friendship with Aimee (Shailene Woodley), who he meets when he wakes up post-binge on her lawn.
James Ponsoldt is a director making a name for himself with original and brilliant character studies. (His second film Smashed is also well worth a look.) The beautiful leafy early summer of the setting gives the feel of nostalgia in the making, but despite sentiment the film never dips into gloopy sentimentality. His characters are too real for that. I’m fully convinced I went to school with Sutter Keeley.
Along with the relative newcomers, the ensemble cast is jam packed with talent – Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Andre Royo, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Bob Odenkirk and Kyle Chandler – but it’s best asset is an enormous generosity at the heart of The Spectacular Now, which never shies away from the dangers of youth, but at the same time enjoying its capacity for courage and hope.