Movie Review: THE SPECTACULAR NOW - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Terry's Take

Movie Review: THE SPECTACULAR NOW

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THE SPECTACULAR NOW is an honest, heartfelt, and wonderfully acted story of first love. The couple is a fun loving, popular boy and a shy, serious girl.

It was written by the same two screenwriters who penned "500 DAYS OF SUMMER."
      
At first the romance between these two high school seniors seems unlikely, but in short order, it completely changes both of their lives.      

The narrator is Sutter Keely played by Miles Teller.

Sutter: "My name is Sutter Keely. I got everything I need right here. I got a job, a car; I got a beautiful girl. I was the life of every party….you gotta live in the moment."

But when Sutter's latest girlfriend (Brie Larson) dumps him, he gets roaring drunk and winds up flat on his back at dawn in somebody's front yard. He's found there by Aimee who's up early to deliver newspapers. (Aimee is played by Shailene Woodley who was George Clooney's older daughter in THE DESCENDANTS.)

Aimee: I thought for a second that you were dead. You live around here, Sutter?
Sutter: How do you know my name?
Aimee: We go to the same school. You wouldn't know who I am.

Sutter may not know Aimee's name, but he's a good hearted kid and decides that he'll help her out by taking her to parties and introducing her to other boys.
     
But the more he talks with Aimee, the more he likes her.

Sutter: You're 17 years old. you don't have an ex boyfriend?
Aimee: No. Guys don't look at me like that.
Sutter: That's shocking. Absolutely, guys look at you like that. I just saw two guys look at you like that. Eric Wolf and Cody Dansen were…
Aimee: No. We were just talking.
Sutter: 100 percent.
Aimee: No, no. There's absolutely no way.
Sutter: Yes they were. Why don't you think they were hitting on you?
Aimee: Cause, I'm just…they weren't.
Sutter: Because what? Aimee, you're absolutely beautiful.
Aimee: Oh my god, no.

(So he plants a long kiss on her lips, and after he pulls away, she giggles awkwardly.)  

All of the dialogue is this realistic. And the acting is superb.

Aimee is surprised that Sutter is interested, and he's surprised to be attracted to someone who's not one of the popular girls at his school.
 
Sutter: What's your story?
Aimee: I don't really have any stories.
Sutter: What do you mean? Everybody's got a story.
Aimee: I don't know. I'd like to think there's more to a person than just one thing.

The two are able to help each other with family problems, but there are also conflicts between them.
      
A big one is that Sutter is an alcoholic who carries a flask everywhere he goes. Another is that she wants to go to college and he wants to stay right where he is.

But  Sutter is more vulnerable than he appears and Aimee is stronger than she seems.
    
Their refreshing story is the best coming-of-age film I've seen since THE PERKS OF BEING A WALLFLOWER.

Terry Hunter, Hawaii News Now                           thunter@hawaiinewsnow.com