Hazel and Gus are two teenagers who share an acerbic wit, a disdain for the conventional, and a love that sweeps them on a journey. Their relationship is all the more miraculous given that Hazel's other constant companion is an oxygen tank, Gus jokes about his prosthetic leg, and they met and fell in love at a cancer support group.
George, a lonely and fatalistic teen who has made it all the way to his senior year without ever having done a real day of work, is befriended by Sally, a popular but complicated girl who recognizes in him a kindred spirit.
Sutter Keely lives in the now. It's a good place for him. A high school senior, charming and self-possessed, he's the life of the party, loves his job at a men's clothing store, and has no plans for the future. A budding alcoholic, he's never far from his supersized, whiskey-fortified thirst-master cup. But after being dumped by his girlfriend, Sutter gets drunk and wakes up on a lawn with Aimee Finecky hovering over him. She's different: the "nice girl" who reads science fiction and doesn't have a boyfriend. While Aimee has dreams of a future, Sutter lives in the impressive delusion of a spectacular now, yet somehow, they're drawn together. Written by
I was lucky enough to see The Spectacular Now at an advance screening, and walking out, I had the unmistakable feeling that I can only describe as a "good movie buzz." You feel a little light on your feet. You're thinking not only about what you've just seen, but how it relates to you. It's a heartfelt story that distills all of the beauty, tenderness, and apocalyptic bleakness of youth into a 95 minute love story that portrays teenagers in the most honest way since the films of John Hughes. The Spectacular Now won Sundance's special jury prize for acting and within minutes, the reason for this becomes apparent. Beautiful, naturalistic performances all around. Miles Teller portrays Sutter Keely with charisma and an effervescent charm while Shailene Woodley imbues Aimee Finicky with a tender shyness that makes her character incredibly endearing. When you watch the two of them on screen together, their chemistry is not just apparent, it's intoxicating. And it's not just a movie held together by its performances. Scott Neustadter and Michael Weber have written an incredible screenplay with flawed yet likable characters you can't help but root for, and James Ponsoldt has delicately directed the script to make his best movie to date. The Spectacular Now is much more than another indie darling. It has breathed life into the "teen movie" genre by treating its characters with maturity and honesty. This is the coming of age movie of our time.
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