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The Spectacular Now: So Normal It’s Good


The “Spectacular Now” proves that a low-budget and clichéd film can still be a powerful and moving piece of cinema.

The film lacks all the telltale signs of a signature blockbuster movie; there are no big name movie stars and the movie lacks any form of special effects. However, the movie more than makes up for it by the special connection the lead actors have and the picturesque setting of Athens, Ga.

Sutter Keely, played by Miles Teller, lives the perfect life and is the very symbol of the Peter Pan Syndrome; he lives for the moment, thinks nothing of the future, and fights with everything he has to keep it that way.

After one of his many drinking binges he wakes up one morning on a stranger’s lawn with no idea how he got there. Enter Aimee Finecky, played by Shailene Woodley. Aimee is Sutter’s polar opposite: shy, bookish, smart; it is Amy who helps Sutter through his morning predicament.

With the couple heading in two completely different directions the biggest question of the movie remains; what will they decide to do with their relationship and what consequences will it have for the both of them?

The characters establish the essence of the film. Miles and Shailene portray their respective characters perfectly; Miles’ constant use of the word “dude” and “awesome” and his easygoing demeanor makes him easily identifiable as the high-school goof off.

Shailene’s noticeable slouch, lack of eye contact, and use of the word “like” reflects the shy, bookworm that Aimee is. The online chemistry is unmistakable. The little quirks the characters have are uncanny; a sideways glance, a small frown, and uncomfortable laugh are so flawlessly delivered that it appears natural and carefree.

The setting is another big plus and makes the film believable. A forest setting with a waterfall in the background gives the impression of a small, no-name town that anyone could live in. In a second scene at a bar; the oak chairs and the antique bar table provides the scene with a lonely and dark look; a great fit for Sutter as he reflects on losing Aimee to college.

The fact the film has no special effects and lacks big name actors makes it even more relevant to us. In some sense, we are all Sutter and Aimee. The film also reflects us in another important way, the transition from childhood to adulthood.

Sutter detests growing up and wishes with every fiber of his being that he can remain a child. He has to go through a series of events to finally shake him out of his fantasy. It begs (and answers) the question: what lengths will each of us go to keep from having to face adulthood and what was it in our lives that finally pushed us to deal with our futures.

Image Sources

  • a&e telescope logo: Telescope Staff/The Telescope | All Rights Reserved
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