Saturday, September 14, 2013

The Spectacular Now (2013)- Movie Review by Sean Wu

James Ponsoldt's The Spectacular Now (Emphasis on the spectacular part,) is one of the year's best movies, easily.  Right now, I would say that it is nothing short of spectacular.

The film follows the senior year of hard partyer/alcoholic high school student Sutter Keely. I can't even begin to describe Sutter Keely without even mentioning Miles Teller's astonishing work in this. This is his first serious movie outside of 21 and Over, and this definitely won't be his last. He, with co-star Shailene Woodley (more on her later) together exercise a strong chemistry and a loving type of humanity only seen outside of the movies.

Keely, as he would say it himself, 'lives in the now'. He has no preparations for the future, the farthest ahead is maybe the day ahead of him. After a sour night at the bar, he stumbles onto a random lawn belonging to quiet girl Aimey Finnicky. Woodley, who plays Finnicky, is just as good as Teller. She plausibly fills the role of an introvert and a popular girl, a hard tightrope to walk.

Keely and Finnicky hit it off, and the two of them begin a passion with alcohol. What makes this film so effective is that you (the viewer) root for Sutter and Aimey's happiness, but at the same time, there is an ugliness that alcohol induces that could ruin Finnicky's purity. It's what makes this film so emotionally engaging.

The remainder of the cast is very good, like Mary Elizabeth Winstead as Keely's sister and Bob Odenkirk (Better Call Saul!) as Keely's employer. They play roles as emotional anchors to Keely, since they have sort-of an awareness to the road that he has ahead of him if he continues his habits.

Ponsoldt is a talent to be reckoned with, especially if he could coax such strong humanity and passion out of two characters. This is definitely one of the year's best films, and I hope to see everyone involved win some prizes later this year.

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