Richard Roeper Blog

REVIEW: “The Spectacular Now”

I’m Richard Roeper and coming up next, I’ll tell you why “TheSpectacular Now” just might be the best movie you’ll see this summer.

If I’m making a list of the best coming of age movies of the last few decades, I’d include “Say Anything,” “The Breakfast Club” “ThePerks of Being a Wallflower”—and “The Spectacular Now.”

Here is that rare movie that captures what it’s like to be a high school senior—and for once, the adults aren’t caricatures or comic foils. We feel as if we’re eavesdropping on real, funny, heartbreaking, uplifting life.

Miles Teller plays Sutter Keeley, a popular senior who’s been havingthe time of his life for four years. But then Sutter gets dumped by his girlfriend Cassidy (Brie Larson). Cassidy still loves him but is alarmed by his lack of ambition and his constant drinking.

Enter Aimee Finicky, played by Shailene Woodley. Aimee’s a sweet, smart, shy girl who finds Sutter passed out on a front lawn and is relieved to learn he’s not dead.

It doesn’t take Sutter long to long to see Aimee’s potential. She’s selfless, she’s quirky, she’s intelligent. She’s honest. Never has a teenager in the movies said “Awesome!” so many times without it ever sounding anything but…awesome.

What beautiful work by Shailene Woodley, who announced her star presence as George Clooney’s daughter in “The Descendants.” It’s a nomination-worthy performance.

We also get terrific supporting turns from Kyle Chandler as Sutter’s estranged father…Jennifer Jason-Leigh as his mother…and Bob Odenkirk as his boss, who genuinely cares about Sutter’s future.

What’s so remarkable about this movie is the natural, unforced feel to scenes big and small. “The Spectacular Now” will bring you back to that time in your life when you were trying to soak in every moment because everyone told you there’s better than your last year in high school—but you were terrified because you were afraid everyone was right.

Here is the best American movie of the year so far. I give it an A+.

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