The Spectacular Now–Movie Review

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3 Stars

The Spectacular Now posterThe Spectacular Now (IMDB) is an interesting character study with some excellent performances but it is marred by an abrupt and implausible happy ending.

Sutter Keely (Miles Teller) is a glib and charming high school senior who enjoys his life and is committed to living in the present moment with no thought for the future. He is also deeply committed to alcoholism and is never without a supply of the hard stuff. His long-time girlfriend (Brie Larson) has wisely dumped him.

After a night of drowning his sorrows he wakes up on the lawn of Aimee Finecky (Shailene Woodley), a shy bookish girl with low self-esteem. They hit it off. He works on building her self-confidence and she blossoms under the attention of such a handsome popular boy. But nothing will stop Sutter’s own downward spiral.

Except at the very end he suddenly decides to shape up and we’re supposed to accept that he’s going to be OK. Yet we all know that it isn’t that easy. Given the realism of the rest of the movie, the ending feels like a cheat.

It feels like we are only given half the story. Did Tim Tharp’s original novel have another 300 pages in which Sutter struggles to overcome his demons? If so the screenwriters must have felt that including them would not make an entertaining movie.