James Ponsoldt's funny and touching coming-of-age tale covers old ground with disarming freshness. Shailene Woodley (The Descendants) and Miles Teller (Rabbit Hole) shared the acting prize at Sundance for playing teens with divergent views of living in the now. Their restrained performances hit you like a shot in the heart. Sutter Keely (Teller) is all about the party, the moment. High school means hanging with the hot girl (a very fine Brie Larson) and drinking – a lot. Aimee Finicky (Woodley), a wallflower with no perks, finds Sutter passed out on a lawn. These two are totally not made for each other, so we can't help rooting for them. In adapting Tim Tharp's novel, Ponsoldt (Smashed) and screenwriters Scott Neustadter and Michael H. Weber (500 Days of Summer) focus on what gets lost in the space between words. By taking it slow, The Spectacular Now takes a piece out of you.
From The Archives Issue 1189: August 15, 2013