The Spectacular Now

This coming-of-age saga paints a disturbing picture of high-school life in small-town America. Based on the novel by Tim Tharp, it's the familiar story of a good girl (Shailene Woodley) who meets a popular but flawed guy (Miles Teller), who, in this case, also happens to be an alcoholic. Over the course of much angst (and drinking), the audience wonders whether she will redeem him before he has the chance to corrupt her. A reunion with his long-absent father (Kyle Chandler) provides a startling life lesson which may or may not be learned. Director James Ponsoldt's film inhabits an irritating judgment-free zone, which works only so long as its heroine is sober and able to keep a grip on the moral compass. Underage drinking, nongraphic, nonmarital, possibly underage sexual activity, occasional profane and crude language. The Catholic News Service classification is L -- limited adult audience, films whose problematic content many adults would find troubling. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is R -- restricted. Under 17 requires accompanying parent or adult guardian.

© Arlington Catholic Herald 1970