There hasn’t been a respectable movie about young romance in years. This year's attempts at teen romance have been “The Host,” where a young girl’s body is taken over by an alien parasite who falls for the girl’s boyfriend, and “Warm Bodies,” a zombie-meets-girl story where the zombie has to get over his desire to kill and eat his girl before he can love her. These movies with supernatural forbidden love and crappy visual effects make us yearn for for that period in the ‘80s (which I wasn’t alive for, but discovered later) where “Sixteen Candles,” “The Breakfast Club,” “Pretty in Pink,” and many others ruled. Those movies were funny, sentimental, and made fun of high school while playing to all of our insecurities we had back then.
Teen romance movies are supposed to help girls deal with relationships and heartbreaks by relating to those onscreen, but, alas, there haven’t been many of those as of late.
Enter “The Spectacular Now.”
Sutter Keely (Miles Teller), a charming, popular high school senior, strikes up a relationship with Aimee Finicky (Shailene Woodley) who is different and sweet. In a classic turn of events, Sutter’s friends don’t approve of her. The two are drawn together but their differences could tear them apart.
Miles Teller channels a young John Cusack using his confidence and quirkiness to give the movie a “Say Anything” feel and create palpable chemistry with Shailene Woodley that hits very close to home.
The film's reviews have been spectacular. Peter Travers from Rolling Stone calls the movie “raw,” avoiding coming-of-age-clichés and so honest “it hits you like a shot right to the heart.” Hypable says it is an “emotional, uplifting story wonderfully acted by its familiar cast.” It even has an 89% on Rotten Tomatoes and hasn’t been fully released yet. Their review says that the movie gives audiences a “straight-up snapshot of the heady confusion and haunting passion of youth - one that doesn't look for tidy truths.”
“The Spectacular Now” could bring relatable stories of young love back to light. With the monsters and vampires banished from the teen romance genre, we might finally go back to remembering the great parts of those difficult high school days, which is all we are looking for in these movies anyway.