Saturday, September 7, 2013

The Spectacular Now

Plot: High school senior Sutter (Miles Teller) just broke up with girlfriend Cassidy (Brie Larson), and he quickly gets involved with the less popular, less flashy Aimee (Shailene Woodley), who turns out to be interesting and attractive in her own way.

Sutter drinks a lot, doesn't study, and lives in the Now, in the Eckhart Towle.  sense of the word. Because of his short term focus, he does not manage his affairs well, but people love him because he has such a big heart. Eventually he learns that "each Now leads to another Now tomorrow, and it is time to start making them count," which is a lot like living in the Future instead of the Now, and that is the point.  [imdb]    [photos]

Review: Spectacular Now is an indie film about high school romance that has an overlay of pop psychology -- specifically rejecting the Eckhart Towle New Age precept to "live-in-the-Now." Spectacular Now is a morality play showing that, at least for teenagers, it is important to live in the Future too. 

The film is almost entirely conversation about relationships between the teens and with their parents. There is a heart-pounding, first-time, sex scene that is done well.

Near the end, suddenly the cinematography steps up a notch. There are a few great images of Aimee through a  window, and some great driving sequences. I am not sure why the change in style, but that was welcome.  

The best part was the performance by Shailene Woodley, who shows us some excellent facial acting. Miles Teller has a more than adequate performance. The dialog is solid but not exceptional. 

Spectacular Now is about the importance of planning along with the importance of loving people. The story is pleasant. The characters were likable. It is not super-fun to watch, but it is worthwhile and interesting.  

Cast: Miles Teller, Shailene Woodley

Directed by: James Ponsoldt based on the book by Tim Tharp.

Rating: 2.5 stars; the purposeful message gives this pleasant film extra points. 
More: I am not sure what the title means, that is "What is spectacular about Now?" 

Even More: Spectacular Now has Sundance Festival buzz since it is an indie film and because it has a clear meaning and purpose. It is trying to take part in a societal conversation.  While old people can benefit from focusing on the Now; young people need to focus more on the Future.