The Spectacular Now Reviews
The Spectacular Now
The premise is somewhat familiar and seems like your typical teenage movie stuff, but as it ages on screen, it grows into this mature character driven feature that contradicts its tone. The first half of it is slow, mushy-gushy and spends its time on setting the plot and the characters' track. There are few inedible clauses in here but if neglecting and moving past it, it offers much more than a romantic genre usually does. It is shot beautifully when it focuses on its love track and is perfectly balanced on the dark and light aspects of it; especially in its last act. James Ponsoldt has done a decent work on executing this uneven and unsettled feature but it definitely could have edited better and improved on some other technical aspects too. The performance is where the wheel gets stuck as its lead characters (Miles Teller and Shailene Woodley) are not in their A game whilst the supporting cast (Jennifer Jason Leigh, Mary Elizabeth Winstead and Brie Larson) is far better. The Spectacular Now is spectacular on terms of its unpredictability as it laughs over the expectation of the audience which it outgrows by a major margin.
One thing i do wanna say is that i would love to really know what happened to the couple after they met as amys facial expression did not seem too happy.
When you read what the film is about, you expect something different. For example, the synopsis for the movie led me to believe that Sutter (Teller) had a drinking problem. While that was accurate, I kept waiting for it to lead to some sort of rift in the relationship with Aimee (Woodley). While it did partially lead to the film's emotional climax, it felt more like it had to do with Sutter as a person, than as an alcoholic. Maybe it's just me, but I think the fact that the teenage protagonist is an alcoholic should've been a bigger plot point.
There were also some plot points that didn't quite make sense to me. Aimee and Sutter were allowed to spend a crazy amount of time in her room together, which didn't seem realistic. Even if Aimee's mother wasn't attentive, at some point you'd assume she'd question the boy in her daughter's room. I also didn't see the point in Mary Elizabeth Winstead's character. She added nothing to the story but a way for Sutter to get around his mother preventing him from seeing his father. It's a shame, because Winstead is very good.
I'm done harping on what didn't work. This is a very good movie. As noted, the chemistry is what sets it apart from other coming-of-age films. They also avoided a lot of the cliché stuff in similar films, which was appreciated. Kyle Chandler is also fantastic as Sutter's father, bringing his inane charm to the role, while still being the right amount of dislikable. Overall, it was a strong film that helped show the world just how good Woodley and Teller are. [*** 1/2]
Woodley gives it a good go, Teller, too, more-or-less, a Romanesque visage with hints of Elvis. But this film seems to lack for a script in many places. It's like the aforementioned director said, "Here's the scene now ad-lib it. Action!" And a whiskey flask as a prom favor (gift)? Weird, even if the Lead seems to be heading toward early alcoholism. (Probably this came from the book from which the film was adapted.) Good to see J. J. Leigh and that she's still working, speaking of Heckerling ("Fast Times").
Not sure how this is getting firm tomatoes. It's not good in any respectable respect - except that the good girl, sorta, seems to get the Lead guy, tho' in today's cliched film trendy way, you're left guessing. | - Norm de Guerre