Miles Teller stars as Sutter, a charming, fly-by-the-seat-of-his-pants high school senior. Fresh from the breakup of his girlfriend, played by Brie Larson, he is found on a neighborhood lawn after an all-night bender by fellow student Amy.
As a viewer, you’re drawn into the charm and confidence displayed by Sutter and you see why Amy easily falls for him. Her irresponsible enabling of him is overshadowed only by the unflappable faith she has in his potential, blinded by young love though she is. He’s not yet ready to grow up and plan for his future, because he’s haunted by the past of a father who left him as a boy, a void in his life that he fills as a (mostly) functioning alchoholic.
The actors in this Bildungsroman provide such a stellar performance that you’re drawn into their stories as if you were an observing friend. It feels real. In one scene when you first meet Sara, Sutter’s mother, Jennifer Jason Leigh hesitates mid-sentence delivering a snarky comeback in response to something her son has said to her. The awkwardness of the burgeoning affection between Sutter and Amy, the pangs of longing Sutter harbors for his ex, Cassidy, Dayo Okeniyi’s Marcus who provides the stability and maturity that Cassidy is seeking in a relationship, Shailene Woodley’s confident yet shy nature as Amy, Kyle Chandler’s shaky performance as Sutter’s father; all are so effortlessly performed. I look forward to seeing more performances from the young actors in this film.
Go see The Spectacular Now.