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Exclusive Movie Review: The Spectacular Now

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Premièring in the UK as apart of the BFI London Film Festival this October, Youth Arts Online gets an exclusive look at the film. Directed by James Ponsoldt. Screenplay by Scott Neustadter & Michael H. Weber. Starring Miles Teller, Shailene Woodley.

The Spectacular Now follows the lives of soon-to-be high school graduates, “living in the moment” Sutter Keely (Miles Teller) and “dreaming of the future” Aimee Finecky (Shailene Woodley) who are essentially from different walks of life, but happen to come across each other and soon develop a relationship. The film is funny, heart warming, relatable, and a realistic take on the lives of young people .

Miles Teller was superb in the film. He was charismatic, while at the same time delivering a very deep and layered performance, allowing us to see very different sides of his character. It was important for him to be able to explore such diverse aspects of his character, as it helped to follow through with the very grounded theme the film was going for; that there are always two sides to every story, and not everything is so black and white.

Sheilaine Woodley played a very believable seventeen year old, with a myriad of interests that definitely tied in to the mindset of our current generation. Her character, along with most others, didn’t fall into the same categories as many earlier high school teen dramas used to employ, like the jock or the geek. Everyone in the film had their own clicks and interests, but all knew they where all ultimately on the same path. The characters were young and were enjoying themselves, but knew they were soon to be adults and didn’t shy away from that.

I also liked that the teenagers in the film actually looked like they were actually teenagers. It helps to ground the film a bit better than some older teen films that we remember today. You could argue that some of the more classic teen high school drama films took a more stylized or exaggerated approach to teenage life, while this film tried to play it very straight.

Honestly, I did I think it was a bit odd how Teller’s character was such a blatant alcoholic, to an almost disturbing degree. It was also a bit unnerving how easily he got his girlfriend into drinking too. Yet there didn’t seem to much in terms of consequences or negative connotations to such excessive drinking. The film was about far more than the literal consumption of alcohol, rather the lifestyle that comes with it and more importantly, why people do it.

This film is a must see and hopefully will stand the test of time, being one of the more well rounded teen films of today. You can catch The spectacular Now at UK cinemas from Thursday 10 October, after its première at the Hackney Picture house.

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