I caught this on opening day and LOVED IT!
Another great review from James B again, and I definitely felt a bit of classic John Hughes (Pretty In Pink, Breakfast Club, etc.) and Cameron Crowe being channeled here (in a good way). It's refreshing and sobering at times, and left an indelible mark in my memories.
I thought the two young actors, Miles Teller and Shailene Woodley were fantastic (no hyperbole). Truly, spectacular performances. Miles Teller's performance as the main protagonist definitely felt believable and very real. He reminded me of a combination of 2 real-life friends I used to have in high school / college (part jokester, part laid-back party guy / nice guy with problems). I was moved by his performance and touched by his downward spiral in parts of the movie.
I thought towards the end of the movie, his scene at the bar (after he "no shows / effectively dumps" Aimee), where he tries to justify his actions to a fellow alcoholic drunk was heart-breaking and so well done. It felt REAL.
And Shailene Woodley was equally wonderful in her own way: She comes across as a real, vulnerable "geeky" high school girl, finding her way, and seeing her fall for Sutter Keely was like watching someone in real-life, falling in love for the first time...
When Aimee and Sutter make love for the first time, her repeated "I love you so much..." felt totally genuine and straight from her heart. You could see her completely in love with Sutter Keely.
I've only seen Shailene as the older daughter in George Clooney's "The Descendants," and I thought she really shined here in "The Spectacular Now."
I would say that there was something slightly (only slightly) unsatisfying about this movie at first, when the credits rolled, and thinking more about it, I think it was...
the fact that a few key events were truncated scenes - like when Aimee gets hit by a car, and we just see a snippet of the aftermath, and then no real long scene and solid resolution by Sutter apologizing to Aimee; also, there's no real scene that shows us Sutter's transformation (cleaning up of his life), we just know that it happens by the end; and the Final Scene with Sutter and Aimee seeing each other and then CUT.
But in the end, like James B points out, I think we already *know* what happens even if they don't show it. I guess I'm a bit of a sucker for more exposition on certain important / meaningful scenes when possible. I would've liked to have at least seen just a bit more before the credits rolled, but overall, it was an excellent movie that I'd recommend catching if you get a chance. Rating: 3.5 Stars (out of 4)