Sutter Keely lives in the now. It’s a good place for him. A high school senior, charming and self-possessed, he’s the life of the party, loves his job at a men’s clothing store, and has no plans for the future. A budding alcoholic, he’s never far from his supersized, whisky-fortified 7UP cup. But after being dumped by his girlfriend, Sutter gets drunk and wakes up on a lawn with Aimee Finicky hovering over him. Not a member of the cool crowd, she’s different: the “nice girl” who reads science fiction and doesn’t have a boyfriend. She does have dreams, while Sutter lives in a world of impressive self-delusion. And yet they’re drawn to each other.
Adapted from Tim Tharp’s novel, The Spectacular Now captures the insecurity and confusion of adolescence without looking for tidy truths. Young actors rarely portray teens with the maturity that Miles Teller and Shailene Woodley display, and they are phenomenal together. Funny, compassionate, and poignant, James Ponsoldt’s third feature again demonstrates his ability to lay bare the souls of his characters. - J. N.
About the Director
James Ponsoldt was raised in Athens, Georgia, and graduated from Columbia University’s Graduate School of Film. His first feature, Off the Black, premiered at the 2006 Sundance Film Festival, and his second feature, Smashed, won a Special Jury Prize for its producers at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival, and lead actress Mary Elizabeth Winstead received an Independent Spirit Award nomination. Ponsoldt is an alumnus of the Sundance Screenwriters Lab. He also writes for Filmmaker magazine and coauthored the award-winning graphic novel Refresh, Refresh.
Cast and Credits
Director: James Ponsoldt
Screenwriters: Scott Neustadter, Michael H. Weber, based on the novel by Tim Tharp
Executive Producers: Scott Neustadter, Michael H Weber, Matthew Medlin, Marc Shmuger
Producers: Tom McNulty, Shawn Levy, Andrew Lauren, Michelle Krumm
Coproducers: Billy Rosenberg, Dan Cohen
Cinematographer: Jess Hall
Editor: Darrin Navarro
Composer: Rob Simonsen
Principal Cast: Miles Teller, Shailene Woodley, Brie Larson, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Kyle Chandler
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