The Spectacular Now is an interesting film due to the fact that it displays modern teenage culture in a sincere way and doesn’t belittle them. It tries to stay grounded in realism as much as it can and give a true and realistic approach to it’s storytelling. The movie follows Sutter Keely (Miles Teller) who is a high school senior without much real ambition and just loves to live in the “Now.” He has recently broken up with his girlfriend, Cassidy (Brie Larson) but he’s trying as much as possible to not let him bother him. Sutter is also essentially an alcoholic and one morning wakes up on the lawn of Aimee Finecky’s (Shailene Woodley) home. They quickly become friends and a bit more so.
Aimee is a bit more of nice girl, has plans for the future, and has never had a boyfriend. These two contrast each other but they build upon each other as well. The best part of this entire film is the performances. Both leads are unbelievably natural in the way they portray their characters. It never feels forced and always feels real which I loved. There is also a constant amount of long takes where the actors just keep a really long scene going and makes it feel even more natural due to that. That doesn’t mean it still doesn’t fall into the occasional stereotypical coming of age tropes. Or that the movie never really covers much new territory.
It doesn’t really change or impact the genre very much. But, very few films have done much new with the genre in a long time and neither does this one for the most part besides the fact that the performances feel so real. It isn’t an awful film by any means, it just does very little to differentiate itself besides some stylistic choices and performances. On top of that, some of the plot choices are questionable towards the end and felt a bit strange. Regardless, this is one of the better films to display teenagers on screen and make it feel natural and less forced. I can’t say for sure to go see this one in the theater but it is still worth a watch at some point.