The Spectacular Now


The Spectacular Now (2013)


Critic Consensus: The Spectacular Now is an adroit, sensitive film that avoids typical coming-of-age story trappings.


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With sly humor and an intensity of feeling, THE SPECTACULAR NOW (directed by James Ponsoldt) creates a vivid, three-dimensional portrait of youth confronting the funny, thrilling and perilous business of modern love and adulthood. This is the tale of Sutter Keely (Miles Teller), a high school senior and effortless charmer, and of how he unexpectedly falls in love with "the good girl" Aimee Finecky (Shailene Woodley). What starts as an unlikely romance becomes a sharp-eyed, straight-up snapshot of the heady confusion and haunting passion of youth - one that doesn't look for tidy truths. The film was written by Scott Neustadter and Michael Weber (500) DAYS OF SUMMER and also features wonderful supporting turns from Brie Larson, Kyle Chandler, Jennifer Jason Leigh, and Mary Elizabeth Winstead. (c) a24 Films

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Critic Reviews for The Spectacular Now

All Critics (161) | Top Critics (41)

[A] nuanced and unsentimental coming-of-age film.

Aug 23, 2013 | Full Review…

This adaptation of Tim Tharp's novel, directed with delicate restraint by James Ponsoldt, sneaks up on you. It makes you laugh, then it breaks your heart.

Aug 23, 2013 | Rating: 3/4

Teller and Woodley hum together, and the movie does their performances justice.

Aug 23, 2013 | Rating: B+ | Full Review…

This coming-of-age movie should appeal to smart, sensitive young people who haven't been exposed to the better examples of the genre.

Aug 22, 2013 | Rating: 2.5/4 | Full Review…

The film is engrossing all the way through, the sweetest, saddest, most humane movie I've seen all year.

Aug 16, 2013 | Rating: 4/4 | Full Review…

So many films featuring teens seem overstimulated or familiar. This one strikes a deep, rich note and holds it.

Aug 16, 2013 | Rating: 3.5/4

Audience Reviews for The Spectacular Now


Teller and Woodley are excellent and have an impressive chemistry together in this sincere coming-of-age drama that feels more real and mature than most films alike, and it even ventures into a surprisingly bleak territory without the need to go for clichés and contrivances.

Carlos Magalhães
Carlos Magalhães

Super Reviewer

The story of the misunderstood teenage boy has been done to death. There have been after-school specials, movies, television shows, plays, and shadow puppet performances on the subject since the dawn of time. I put off watching this film for so long, because I didn't want to watch another soapy, plaintive film about a boy who is lost, then found by love in the course of 90 minutes....and yet. And yet, this film surprised me the entire runtime. Read more at

Spencer S.
Spencer S.

Super Reviewer


A popular boy befriends and loves a mawkish girl, but will his demons and the pains of adolescence spoil their burgeoning love? The first act of this film is so drenched in cliche that it's difficult to take the rest of the film seriously. But it should be taken seriously because parts of it are really good, carried by a passable performance by Miles Teller and a strong supporting turn by Shailene Woodley. The film's carpe diem message is muddled though, and the film doesn't take any real risks. For example, the scene by the car after Sutter meets his estranged father should have greater consequences than it does (that's an abstrusely constructed sentence to avoid spoilers). Overall, now, it's not all that spectacular.

Jim Hunter
Jim Hunter

Super Reviewer


Run-of-the-mill rom-com.

familiar stranger
familiar stranger

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