The refreshing breeze of “The Spectacular Now” is that there is a high school where the kids are regular every day kids and does not bode an ominous shadow of depression. That has been the backbone of several good and bad films. And the fallen media now a day has made sure of that impression as well. Miles Teller as Sutter Keely is an ordinary kid with great skill for socialization. He is the friend everyone stutter to hangout and not in the overdrawn sense of it. He is not alone a good guy but a great company. He can have harmless fun with a little drink or two but more importantly he is always there to make someone better. Yet there is no one to see him through his problems nor does he let anyone to.
When the film opens he just got dumped by his girl friend Cassidy (Brie Larson) and is on the charade of executing expected things to wipe of his sorrow. He is recovering quick or want to be quick in moving on. Aimee Finicky (Shailene Woodley) wakes him up in front of a random house. He wakes up from his plastering night of sorrow. Sutter becomes his normal self like a flip of a switch. Their relationship knowingly blossoms but director James Ponsoldt layers the charm that carried “Say Anything” and mixes it up with some real life drama.
One thing you would notice in the film is that how any of the characters are not made as bad people for the convenience of the script. Except Kyle Chandler’s character who comes as Sutter’s dad. Despite that even, when we see his actions and Sutter’s realization there is an honest truth to it. Sutter’s Dad knew what he wanted and he went for it because he could not take it anymore as the life did not wait for him. Not the life he wanted at least. Nor that it defines as an approved life of happiness. These are the slices of life “The Spectacular Now” takes on into a profoundness that is fairly simple in the viewer’s eyes.
Miles Teller appearances are as the next door kid but really carves a character out of Sutter. The denial or the defense mechanism Sutter poses to keep leading on with Aimee is enjoyably subtle. We wonder on the end game he has for Aimess as the eventual path of demise is blatant. Not because he is a bad kid but he is at the cross roads of what future lies ahead. He is happy in this world and he cannot deliver himself out of this comfortable womb. His introspection or the lack there of leads to drink more. One initially dismisses his problem with drinks on the discovery of alcohol as a kid but soon enough it is evident on that being his coping mechanism.
Sutter’s mom (Jennifer Jason Leigh) has protected him from the truth of his dad as any parent would. Their interaction in the film though minimal provides a backstory automatically. Actors like Miles Teller and Jennifer Jason Leigh establish that from simple lines in a script. Take Bob Odenkirk as Sutter’s boss in the clothing store. Teller and Odenkirk exactly have two scenes in the film with 3-4 lines in each of it. Yet the depth of their relationship is impregnated in the audience’s mind when they depart. Same with Sutter’s sister Holly (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) or with his Math teacher (Andre Royo, the ever impressive “Bubbles” from the TV Series “The Wire”). All these are brilliant actors who with the right aid of writing and their performance make us understand Sutter more than he poses to be.
Sutter while does not have the greatest issue or the hardship in life has the regular issues that has clouded the society of several need for more in anything. Take it independence, relationship which results in heartbreak or emotional trauma. Nevertheless, it can germinate a different kind of beautiful relationship and experience out of it. How one come out of it defines and makes them a better person like any other situation or experiences in life. Sutter has his intervention and so does many kids of his age in this day. Director James Ponsoldt establishes those unintended yet properly placed notions in the film.
“The Spectacular Now” showcases Miles Teller and Shailene Woodley (who again was impressive in “The Descendants”). It is also about the possibility and the simplicity of a film that can work through the mundaneness of the life it poses to be to into something beautiful. The interaction we go through in our life and the impression we want to make are the nature of our social existence. Even in the goodness of helping others we define our happiness. The complications of several wirings in our psyche beckons to wonder on why we are simultaneously an emotional being and seriously self aware and embarrassed about it. “The Spectacular Now” addresses it in the c’est la vie per se and gently brushes our inner mind into the complexities that can be simply untangled by the best of the people.