The Spectacular Now Screen 8 articles

The Spectacular Now

2013

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  • ...Because the film does so many other things right, because James Ponsoldt's direction brings a real understanding to both the awkwardness and the pleasures of human interaction, and because Woodley's excellent performance gives off an authentic sense of teen unease and desire, the film is much richer and less simplistic than the writing duo's too-cutesy earlier offering.

  • As familiar as this setup is, the boy-meets-girl genre hasn’t yet met director James Ponsoldt, who in only three films has made a persuasive case for being his generation’s premier chronicler of alcoholism. Off the Black (2006) and Smashed (2012) depicted adults wrecked by their curtailed potential and a weakness for drink; Ponsoldt’s latest is even more heartbreaking for scaling back the years.

  • ...Decent and likable people often behave like complete idiots and hurt themselves and each other, and never more so than when they’re young and in love. If you’ve ever been either of those things – and that describes close to 100 percent of the human population – this movie will pack a highly personal emotional wallop.

  • The story, adapted from the novel’s first-person voice by the screenwriters of “(500) Days of Summer,” becomes a bit strained by a third-act bump that comes after the film has already successfully darkened somewhat. Yet Mr. Ponsoldt ably charts a journey through the high stakes of adolescence, with both Sutter and Mr. Teller showing great promise.

  • An effort to capture how things really are, The Spectacular Now is an earnest coming-of-age film that avoids the glib reflexes symptomatic of the genre, and the sanctimony and staginess of overwrought addiction melodramas.

  • Tim Tharp's lauded young-adult novel forms the basis for this nuanced and unsentimental coming-of-age film directed by James Ponsoldt (Smashed), from a screenplay by partners Scott Neustadter and Michael H. Weber (500 Days of Summer). Miles Teller stands out as a charming high school senior with little ambition but a large capacity for alcohol...

  • The heart, soul, and natural intensity that Teller and Woodley give their acting is very much worth seeing. They're fantastic, despite seeming too wise for parts this adolescent. That maturity only compounds your sadness for the characters: They should know better. It's not that you stop caring about the two kids. It's that the caring becomes overwhelming. You're rooting for them to find a fairer movie.

  • This is Teller and Woodley’s show, and the chemistry between them lifts the film above and beyond the normal troubled-youngsters-humpin’-and-boozin’ social-issue movie. Teller, particularly, feels like a major discovery; breathing life into a bumpkin-sidekick role in that Footloose remake is one thing, but keeping audiences with Sutter, Now’s charming young fuck-up, is a feat.

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