The Spectacular Now stars Miles Teller (21 & Over) and Shailene Woodley (The Descendents). It was written by the writers of 500 Days of Summer, Scott Neustadter and Michael Weber. It was aptly directed by James Ponsoldt (Smashed). It's a coming of age story of an alcoholic high school senior who finds himself questioning his philosophy of living in the here and now when he starts to fall in love with a "nice" girl.
The screenplay was deep and had many complex layers to it. It did have a lot of similar aspects of other movies set in high school, but the way in which this story was executed made this film something special. The pace started out a little slow, but the story kept getting better and better. By then end, I was completely enthralled with the characters. The relationship between Sutter (Teller) and Aimee (Woodley) was gripping and their chemistry was spectacular. I thought it was profound how they portrayed the beginning of a dysfunctional relationship and how difficult it can be to realize things may be headed down a dark path during the process of falling in love. Another layer of the story that I loved was the family dynamics. The troubled relationship between the teens and their parents really hit home and it was absolutely brilliant how Sutter was able to get a glimpse of his future by reuniting with his deadbeat father.
The acting in this film was superb and the casting was perfect. Every moment between the characters in this movie felt real. Miles Teller proved that he is a wonderful talent and he put out a marvelous performance as a confident and popular partier who faces some of the toughest choices in life with no clear direction or ambition. Shailene Woodley put out an amazing performance as the girl next door type who is quiet, smart, and willing to sacrifice everything for her mother. She was so natural and real, I wouldn't be surprised to see her getting nominated for an Oscar for this role. Kyle Chandler, who you might recognize from movies like Argo and Zero Dark Thirty, was also very good as Sutter's father. His performance was the best I've seen him so far.
With great drama, a few laughs, and outstanding performances, I can easily recommend The Spectacular Now. It's a great follow up to 500 Days of Summer and if you like movies like The Descendents or 50/50, you're sure to enjoy this one.