Sutter Keely is a teenager with the gift of gab, able to flip the mood of an encounter with brash good will. You run into guys like this in teenage dramas or comedies, the charm often backed up with sarcasm or a pretty face. But Sutter has genuine heart, and his cheer masks closely held fears, an ambivalence about the future and an insecurity over his separated parents’ past.
Similarly, James Ponsoldt’s new film, “The Spectacular Now,” overcomes echoes of familiarity as Sutter finds his way through the end of high school and the responsibilities looming after graduation (that perennial movie horizon) in his small town. Much of this patiently achieved success flows from Miles Teller’s winning, seemingly effortless performance as Sutter, in all his laziness and charm, open-mindedness and fatalism, always with a glimpse of the unease beneath.
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The Spectacular Now
Running time: 1 hour, 35 minutes.
Now showing: Area theaters