Cool Films: The Spectacular Now

The film's stars Shailene Woodly and Miles Teller

   The first movie I will be highlighting in this series is the indie film The Spectacular Now.  A couple months ago when I was forced to watch this movie, I was not expecting much. I thought I was going to be sitting through two hours of a twilight-y love story.  Blah.  Fortunately, I couldn't have been more wrong.  The Spectacular Now isn't a love story, it's a coming of age story that happens to feature "love."  
   I found this film to be extremely raw and real. Nothing was sugar coated. The movie puts the main character who is an alcoholic teenager in the most genuine light. The film lets you see the dark and selfish side of an alcoholic, just as much as it lets you see the innocent and helpless side.  Most viewers , who take the film for it's surface value, would argue that Sutter (Teller) is not selfish at all.  I absolutely agree that Sutter as a person is completely compassionate and selfless. But like all addicts, Sutter the alcoholic is "selfish". I use quotations because it isn't the person who is selfish, it's the disease. The part of the disease that is selfish is the part where the alcoholic thinks that he/she is the only one whom could possibly end up hurt. When in reality, anyone who loves the alcoholic has the potential to get hurt. This is why it is so important that love is featured in this film. Aimee (Woodly) loves Sutter the person.  But Aimee is fair game to feel pain through her love for Sutter the addict.  All of that aside, I love that Sutter's selfless side outshines his "selfishness."  It allows you to see Sutter through Aimee's eyes.  Even though Aimee cares about Sutter deeply, she can't see that he is hurting her and himself. It's certainly a case of blinding love.  Anyone who has known an alcoholic can see how true to the disease this story is.
  But its not just the addiction side, everything about the movie was real. I loved watching a high school love story, for lack of a better term, where the teenage boy was not a prince on a white horse. In fact he was a real jerk some times. I mean aren't all high school boys raging a-holes? (Sorry, is my seventeen year old girl showing?) Even the intimate scenes were real and awkward and not sexy at all! Seeing a film that was so true to the real teenager was refreshing to say the least. I applaud the director for not focusing on theatrics and letting the character development speak for itself.
   Sutter Keely is a modern day tragic hero, like Macbeth or Jay Gatsby.  Watching a teenage addict deteriorate from the inside out is kind of like a watching a car crash. Its hard to watch but you can't look away. I recommend this film to anyone who can appreciate a true depiction of teenagers.

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