• Studio: A24
  • Release Date: Aug 2, 2013
Metascore
82

Universal acclaim - based on 42 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 41 out of 42
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 42
  3. Negative: 1 out of 42
Watch On
  1. Reviewed by: Roger Ebert
    Aug 2, 2013
    100
    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.
  2. Reviewed by: James Berardinelli
    Aug 2, 2013
    88
    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.
  3. Reviewed by: Peter Travers
    Aug 1, 2013
    75
    James Ponsoldt's funny and touching coming-of-age tale covers old ground with disarming freshness.
  4. Reviewed by: Owen Gleiberman
    Jul 31, 2013
    91
    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.
  5. Reviewed by: Mick LaSalle
    Aug 8, 2013
    100
    Original, truthful and moving.
  6. Reviewed by: Peter Rainer
    Aug 2, 2013
    75
    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.
  7. Reviewed by: Ty Burr
    Aug 15, 2013
    88
    A cleareyed, disarmingly tender adolescent romance that bears comparison with the best of its genre.
  8. Reviewed by: Joe Morgenstern
    Aug 1, 2013
    90
    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.
  9. Reviewed by: Claudia Puig
    Aug 1, 2013
    100
    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.
  10. Reviewed by: Steven Rea
    Aug 15, 2013
    75
    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.
  11. 80
    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.
  12. Reviewed by: Rene Rodriguez
    Aug 22, 2013
    75
    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.
  13. Reviewed by: Scott Tobias
    Aug 1, 2013
    70
    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.
  14. Reviewed by: Michael Phillips
    Aug 8, 2013
    75
    The Spectacular Now is rare: a coming-of-age movie featuring a teenage couple about whom you actually give a rip.
  15. Reviewed by: Lawrence Toppman
    Aug 22, 2013
    100
    Has an honesty few movies seek or achieve these days.
  16. Reviewed by: Todd McCarthy
    Feb 28, 2013
    80
    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.
  17. Reviewed by: Andrew O'Hehir
    Aug 1, 2013
    80
    A memorable, imperfect, heartbreaking summer love story, a bit soapy in spots but loaded with power and feeling.
  18. Reviewed by: Liam Lacey
    Aug 15, 2013
    75
    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.
  19. Reviewed by: Joe Neumaier
    Aug 1, 2013
    100
    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.
  20. Reviewed by: Kyle Smith
    Aug 2, 2013
    38
    The teen movie The Spectacular Now begins like “Say Anything” but soon turns into “Drink Anything.”
  21. 88
    Witty, warm and wistful and in just the right proportions, Spectacular is the best-acted film of the summer.
  22. Reviewed by: Dana Stevens
    Aug 1, 2013
    80
    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.
  23. Reviewed by: Bill Goodykoontz
    Aug 8, 2013
    90
    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.
  24. Reviewed by: Joe Williams
    Aug 22, 2013
    63
    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.
  25. Reviewed by: Kimberley Jones
    Aug 14, 2013
    78
    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.
  26. Reviewed by: Joshua Rothkopf
    Jul 30, 2013
    80
    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).
  27. Reviewed by: Marc Mohan
    Aug 22, 2013
    83
    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.
  28. Reviewed by: Eric Kohn
    Jul 31, 2013
    83
    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."
  29. Reviewed by: Betsy Sharkey
    Aug 1, 2013
    90
    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.
  30. Reviewed by: David Denby
    Jul 29, 2013
    80
    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.
  31. Reviewed by: Steve Persall
    Dec 25, 2013
    91
    As a wisely devised teenage drama, The Spectacular Now treats kids and adults respectfully, even their foolish weaknesses. That respect extends to the audience.
  32. Reviewed by: Nicolas Rapold
    Aug 1, 2013
    80
    Mr. Ponsoldt ably charts a journey through the high stakes of adolescence, with both Sutter and Mr. Teller showing great promise.
  33. Reviewed by: Richard Roeper
    Aug 9, 2013
    100
    Here is the best American movie of the year so far.
  34. Reviewed by: Alan Scherstuhl
    Jul 30, 2013
    90
    Director James Ponsoldt gives us long, loose, single-shot courtship scenes, each a marvel of staging and performance.
  35. Reviewed by: A.A. Dowd
    Jul 31, 2013
    75
    If Ponsoldt can step beyond the 12 steps, he might make something truly spectacular.
  36. Reviewed by: Andrew Schenker
    Jul 26, 2013
    63
    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.
  37. Reviewed by: Jordan Hoffman
    Jul 31, 2013
    83
    From a distance The Spectacular Now is mere soap opera, but it is one of those films that grow more fascinating upon inspection.
  38. Reviewed by: Rodrigo Perez
    Feb 28, 2013
    75
    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.
  39. Reviewed by: Rob Nelson
    Feb 28, 2013
    90
    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.
  40. Reviewed by: Stephanie Merry,
    Aug 8, 2013
    75
    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.
  41. Reviewed by: Matthew Kassel
    Jul 30, 2013
    75
    Thankfully, refreshingly, The Spectacular Now never once feels like a cautionary tale.
  42. Reviewed by: Ed Gibbs
    Feb 28, 2013
    80
    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.
User Score
8.1

Universal acclaim- based on 164 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 38 out of 46
  2. Negative: 4 out of 46
  1. Aug 2, 2013
    10
    The Spectacular Now is everything its name implies. Miles Teller does a fine job playing a smooth-talking popular high school senior whoThe Spectacular Now is everything its name implies. Miles Teller does a fine job playing a smooth-talking popular high school senior who relishes only on the "now", but I think that it was Sheilene Woodley's amazing performance that did it for me. You can see the hurt inside of these two generally happy people and you witness the vices of the lead character that emanates to the most important people in his life. Definitely one of the summer's best films. Full Review »
  2. Sep 26, 2013
    10
    What a Great Movie. It is about young people learning some of the hard truths in life. It is a movie that is hard to forget. The acting isWhat a Great Movie. It is about young people learning some of the hard truths in life. It is a movie that is hard to forget. The acting is superb. The movie is realistic of life of high schoolers. Wonderful film. Full Review »
  3. Sep 2, 2013
    2
    The leading actress was so exceptional in Descendants plus overall reviews for this movie were very good, we had high hopes going in. ThereThe leading actress was so exceptional in Descendants plus overall reviews for this movie were very good, we had high hopes going in. There was pretty good character development but it starts out with the stereotypical troubled teens/romance type plot we've all seen a million times so naturally we expected there must be some new twist to make this good. Sadly the unusual or creative twist never came so we thought well then it must have an incredible ending, yet there too we were very disappointed. There's nothing new or interesting here folks so I recommend you stay away and save your money. Full Review »