Delightful and difficult to watch, The Spectacular Now is engrossingly charming and believable. Particularly for me, it was frustrating to see the well-meaning, relatable characters do things that hurt themselves and those they care about, frustrating to see Aimee’s insecurity, frustrating to see Sutter a victim of his own live-in-the-moment philosophy. But that’s what ultimately made the story as poignant as it was, portraying in an affecting way the ordinary but meaningful foibles of youth. Though perhaps at times dramatic, The Spectacular Now doesn’t have any overblown drama, yet we can see that there’s a particular magnitude to what’s happening, what’s slowly building up. Because like the characters who can see in each other what they cannot see in themselves, we as the audience have distance—from their situation and, at least in my case, from youth—we can see the slow disaster unfolding, can see that it doesn’t take a sudden catastrophe to derail lives. Or maybe not. At times the film does such a great job of pulling us into their world and their perspectives, and we, like the characters do, let things happen.
Love the ending.
I have to agree with much of the Fresh Air film review, which starts by characterizing The Spectacular Now as “goofy, exhilarating and unreasonably sad, like being a teenager.” What David Edelstein says about the actors and their characters is often spot on.
Again, a film that isn’t done justice by its trailer, but here it is in case you’re curious…