THE SPECTACULAR NOW [2013] movie review

March 7, 2014 · Print This Article

Really only toward the end of the movie and thinking about it afterwards did I realize that the main character, a high school senior, was an alcoholic and that no one in his life called him on it in a serious way ever.  He routinely drove drunk, worked his part-time job drunk and in his free time drank.  I guess since he was always so cheerful and not belligerent he could get away with it.  It’s just something in hindsight that could ruin THE SPECTACULAR NOW [2013] for me, as it was otherwise an intimate coming of age drama.

Sutter narrates the opening of the movie via answering a question on a college application.  He tells us that he had the most awesome girlfriend until just yesterday.  Cut to scenes of them being the life of the party together.  So one thinks the movie will be about him and her getting back together, etc.  Thus the first surprise of the movie is that it is actually about Sutter meeting a girl, Aimee, very different from him, what one would call a “nice girl,” by all definitions.  She is really, really nice, like does a paper route for her mom at 6am nice, like you can be mean to her and she apologizes to you first nice.  Sutter is taken aback by this, but they start hanging out.  Her friends are worried he will just hurt her, and his friends feel the same.

Fortunately, again the movie is not so predictable and the joy of the movie is watching how they get to know each other and come to like each other.  They make a promise to each other to stand up to their mother’s.  There relationship is mutually beneficial to both.  Yet, she is college bound and he can honestly not even see the point of graduating high school.  What is so great about being an adult he asks?

Then there is his drinking.  He gets everyone around him to drink.  He gives Aimee her own flask even!  For such a level headed girl she gets in the car with him every time after he has been drinking.  Related to this is a scene that made me gasp out loud.

One just has to accept this fact that he is an alcoholic and puts lives in danger on a daily basis by drunk driving, and no one ever calls him on it and even his super smart girlfriend goes along without saying a thing.  Other than that, the ending is very effective and only somewhat predictable.

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