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The Spectacular Now

Romance . Drama . Comedy

A hard-partying high school senior's philosophy on life changes when he meets the not-so-typical "nice girl."

Actors: Whitney Goin , Ava London , Nicci Faires , Jennifer Jason Leigh , Kyle Chandler , Dayo Okeniyi , Masam Holden , Brie Larson , Shailene Woodley , Miles Teller
Directors: James Ponsoldt
Country: USA
Release: 2013-09-13
More Info:
  • Lawrence Toppman

    Has an honesty few movies seek or achieve these days.

    Charlotte Observer Full Review
  • Richard Roeper

    Here is the best American movie of the year so far.

    Chicago Sun-Times Full Review
  • Mick LaSalle

    Original, truthful and moving.

    San Francisco Chronicle Full Review
  • Roger Ebert

    What an affecting film this is. It respects its characters and doesn't use them for its own shabby purposes. How deeply we care about them. Full Review
  • Claudia Puig

    A marvel of well-rounded characters, strong performances and disarming chemistry, this deeply felt film is like a loving elegy to the end of childhood. It's easily one of summer's best films.

    USA Today Full Review
  • Joe Neumaier

    The focus in James Ponsoldt’s affecting, intelligent drama is a pair of teenagers, and in them is so much complexity and heart that this casually paced gem feels rich in scope. They’re two of the most carefully created figures on screen this year, and yet their normalness takes us by surprise.

    New York Daily News Full Review
  • Steve Persall

    As a wisely devised teenage drama, The Spectacular Now treats kids and adults respectfully, even their foolish weaknesses. That respect extends to the audience.

    Tampa Bay Times Full Review
  • Owen Gleiberman

    The Spectacular Now doesn't shrink from being an all-out teen movie (it has hookups and a senior prom). Yet it's one of the rare truly soulful and authentic teen movies. It's about the experience of being caught on the cusp and not knowing which way you'll land.

    Entertainment Weekly Full Review
  • Bill Goodykoontz

    James Ponsoldt’s film, and its stars, Miles Teller and Shailene Woodley, continually take us in unexpected directions, giving the film an unexpected depth. It feels real, its emotions earned.

    Arizona Republic Full Review
  • Joe Morgenstern

    A movie of uns — unforced, unhurried, unpretentious. Though it's sometimes underdramatized, this story of adolescents on the brink of adulthood is refreshingly, and endearingly, unlike the overheated features that have come to define the genre.

    Wall Street Journal Full Review
  • Betsy Sharkey

    Miles Teller and Shailene Woodley, as high school seniors Sutter and Aimee, bring such an authentic face of confidence and questioning, indifference and need, pain and denial, friendship and first love, that it will take you back to that time if you're no longer there, and light a path if you are.

    Los Angeles Times Full Review
  • Alan Scherstuhl

    Director James Ponsoldt gives us long, loose, single-shot courtship scenes, each a marvel of staging and performance.

    Village Voice Full Review
  • Rob Nelson

    Skillfully adapted from Tim Tharp's novel, evocatively lensed in the working-class neighborhoods of Athens, Ga., and tenderly acted by Miles Teller and Shailene Woodley, this bittersweet ode to the moment of childhood's end builds quietly to a pitch-perfect finale.

    Variety Full Review
  • Ty Burr

    A cleareyed, disarmingly tender adolescent romance that bears comparison with the best of its genre.

    Boston Globe Full Review
  • James Berardinelli

    The Spectacular Now's DNA contains elements of the John Hughes teen dramadies of the '80s. There's also a little Cameron Crowe - in fact, replace the soundtrack with something more dynamic and it might be easy to mistake this with a Crowe film.

    ReelViews Full Review
  • Roger Moore

    Witty, warm and wistful and in just the right proportions, Spectacular is the best-acted film of the summer.

    McClatchy-Tribune News Service Full Review
  • Marc Mohan

    Social critique isn't the main concern of director James Ponsoldt ("Smashed"). What he does is take us inside an unexpected, but not unrealistic, high school relationship and provide a splendid stage for two young and very promising actors.

    Portland Oregonian Full Review
  • Eric Kohn

    Anchored by a funny and especially credible performance by newcomer Miles Teller, Ponsoldt's follow up to his alcoholism portrait "Smashed" has all the hallmarks of a bittersweet teen drama with flashes of realistic comedy on par with "Say Anything" and "The Breakfast Club."

    indieWIRE Full Review
  • Jordan Hoffman

    From a distance The Spectacular Now is mere soap opera, but it is one of those films that grow more fascinating upon inspection. Full Review
  • Dana Stevens

    This movie’s human scale, its unaffected compassion for every one of its far-from-perfect characters, is what kept me on its side throughout.

    Slate Full Review
  • Nicolas Rapold

    Mr. Ponsoldt ably charts a journey through the high stakes of adolescence, with both Sutter and Mr. Teller showing great promise.

    The New York Times Full Review
  • Andrew O'Hehir

    A memorable, imperfect, heartbreaking summer love story, a bit soapy in spots but loaded with power and feeling. Full Review
  • Joshua Rothkopf

    Nothing about The Spectacular Now feels easy or After-School Special, although it tidies up too much (the personal essay should be retired as a device).

    Time Out New York Full Review
  • David Denby

    The Spectacular Now goes a little soft at the end, but most of it has the melancholy sense of life just passing by — until, that is, someone has the courage to grab it and make it take some meaning and form.

    The New Yorker Full Review
  • David Edelstein

    Most teen movies are cocktails of melancholy and elation. This one is best at its most un-transcendent —when it most evokes that period when we never knew what we were supposed to do with the pain.

    New York Magazine (Vulture) Full Review
  • Ed Gibbs

    Ponsoldt elicits remarkably strong performances from his two young leads, who display a depth of feeling that's breathtaking in its simplicity and honest. There's an inherent chemistry here that's both disarming and refreshing.

    The Guardian Full Review
  • Todd McCarthy

    Ordinary in some ways and extraordinary in others, The Spectacular Now benefits from an exceptional feel for its main characters on the parts of the director and lead actors.

    The Hollywood Reporter Full Review
  • Kimberley Jones

    An outstanding cast have crafted a delicate, eloquent picture of believable humans in so many gradations of hurt, but it stops just shy of catharsis.

    Austin Chronicle Full Review
  • Rene Rodriguez

    The performances by Teller and Woodley are so strong that when the tone starts to darken and the characters make some radical discoveries, all the usual trappings of adolescent angst melt away: You feel like you’re watching two real, complicated people.

    Miami Herald Full Review
  • Liam Lacey

    By the end of the The Spectacular Now, you’re not quite ready to let these characters go. Instead, like director François Truffaut did with his character Antoine Doinel in a series of films, you want to check back with them every few years, to see how how they’re getting on.

    The Globe and Mail (Toronto) Full Review
  • Steven Rea

    The Spectacular Now feels genuine in almost every respect, from the unflashy cinematography and the sparingly deployed music cues to the natural, unhurried performances of its two stars. They will get to you, truly.

    Philadelphia Inquirer Full Review
  • Stephanie Merry,

    The movie captures the raw excitement and heartbreak of adolescence so completely that it manages to replace a seen-it-all jaded heart with the butterflies that accompany fresh experiences.

    Washington Post Full Review
  • Michael Phillips

    The Spectacular Now is rare: a coming-of-age movie featuring a teenage couple about whom you actually give a rip.

    Chicago Tribune Full Review
  • Peter Rainer

    James Ponsoldt, who directed from a script by Michael H. Weber and Scott Neustadter, is a bit too glib to do justice to this material, but the young actors, especially Woodley, are quite fine.

    Christian Science Monitor Full Review
  • Peter Travers

    James Ponsoldt's funny and touching coming-of-age tale covers old ground with disarming freshness.

    Rolling Stone Full Review
  • A.A. Dowd

    If Ponsoldt can step beyond the 12 steps, he might make something truly spectacular.

    The A.V. Club Full Review
  • Matthew Kassel

    Thankfully, refreshingly, The Spectacular Now never once feels like a cautionary tale.

    New York Observer Full Review
  • Rodrigo Perez

    The Spectacular Now is wise beyond its years, charismatic, measured and authentic in its depiction of the pains, confusions and insecurities of the teenage experience, and while its deliberate rhythm may prove to be a harder sell among the teen crowd, it’s a valuable and honest film that’s worth the investment.

    The Playlist Full Review
  • Scott Tobias

    Even in its rougher patches, The Spectacular Now has a disarming earnestness that keeps it on the level, helped along by two superb lead performances that add up to more than their sum.

    The Dissolve Full Review
  • Joe Williams

    There’s much to appreciate here. Like “The Perks of Being a Wallflower,” which had a stronger sense of its place in the world, this coming-of-age movie should appeal to smart, sensitive young people who haven’t been exposed to the better examples of the genre.

    St. Louis Post-Dispatch Full Review
  • Andrew Schenker

    Given the film's early promise, it's unfortunate how it turns into a largely reductive Freudian character piece in which the main character has to come to terms with his old man.

    Slant Magazine Full Review
  • Kyle Smith

    The teen movie The Spectacular Now begins like “Say Anything” but soon turns into “Drink Anything.”

    New York Post Full Review
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