Redbox Film Club: “The Spectacular Now” captures youthful confusion
Living in the moment, this is a concept often spouted off by the young people of today, however, it forsakes something deeply important: the future. This conversation lies at the heart of “The Spectacular Now.” The film follows class clown and slacker Sutter Keely (Miles Teller) in his senior year of high school. In the wake of a breakup, Sutter is left wandering through life with no real plan, besides to “live in the now.” Sutter then begins an unlikely romance with Aimee Fineky (Shailene Woodley), the resident “nice girl” who has dreams of college and her future.
Director James Ponsoldt beautifully illustrates the confusion and fear experienced at the edge of youth as the future relentlessly advances. Sutter, deeply hurt by his father’s abandonment, turns to drinking rather than accepting the love that surrounds him. He sees himself as someone who brings others down and to some extent, he does. His charming personality and ceaseless wit make his tipping of the flask look attractive. But he knows he is lost. When Sutter’s absentee father (Kyle Chandler) spouts off lines about “living in the now” that are not too dissimilar from his own outlook, he is forced to rethink his worldview.
Teller’s superb performance makes “The Spectacular Now” extremely believable. His sincerity, emotion, natural comedic timing and everyman looks are reminiscent of a young John Cusack. He looks like any average guy walking down the street, which makes him deeply relatable.
“The Spectacular Now” tells a beautiful and heartwarming story that feels far too authentic to be cliché. Engaging, hilarious and heartbreaking, the film captures the reality of life, without turning the dark corner into bleakness. The film steers clear of the usual predictable plot of a teen romance film and blazes its own trail that will remain in the mind of viewers for a long time to come.