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The Spectacular Now
This adaptation of Tharp’s same-named book about growing up is solid with Teller (Rabbit Hole) and Woodley (The Descendants) paired up wonderfully. In fact, it actually marked a strong beginning of a string of movies for both of the young actors.
Director Ponsoldt, also fairly new to the large screen, delivered well, keeping a level of dark reality that reflects the high school veneer of most teenagers. Interestingly, the most tested of the production staff were actually the writers Weber and Neustadter. This duo also gave us 500 Days of Summer and the more recent young adult hit, and Woodley starrer, The Fault in our Stars.
In many ways, this film felt like a lesser cousin of The Perks of Being a Wallflower. Not that this film is not well done, it feels very real and, while a bit more grounded than Perks, it is still a somewhat unrealistic world and story. However, I can see how anyone from ages 15-25 might find it a go-to movie. It is both empowering and acknowledging of the world as a teenager and young adult. Adults, however, will probably only find this a good watch once.
To see these two young actors as their careers start to take off is reason enough to see the film. The performances are entertaining and solid. The characters are real and bravely flawed. It may or may not become part of the list of films you always remember, but it isn’t time lost and it bodes well for any future work that any of those involved may put out there.