The Spectacular Now | Chicago Reader

The Spectacular Now

Tim Tharp's lauded young-adult novel forms the basis for this nuanced and unsentimental coming-of-age film directed by James Ponsoldt (Smashed), from a screenplay by partners Scott Neustadter and Michael H. Weber (500 Days of Summer). Miles Teller stands out as a charming high school senior with little ambition but a large capacity for alcohol; he bobs along like driftwood on a whiskey sea until he befriends the class wallflower, who helps him with math. In return he tutors her in distilled spirits, and a romance gradually develops. Shailene Woodley is heartbreaking as the naive new girlfriend, and Kyle Chandler is indelible as the boy’s long-lost, wasted dad, the proverbial tree from which the apple falls.



  • James Ponsoldt


  • Miles Teller
  • Shailene Woodley
  • Brie Larson
  • Jennifer Leigh
  • Mary Winstead
  • Kyle Chandler
  • Kaitlyn Dever
  • Bob Odenkirk
  • Andre Royo
  • Dayo Okeniyi
  • Gary Weeks
  • Masam Holden
  • Nicci Faires
  • Whitney Christopher


  • Michelle Krumm
  • Andrew Lauren
  • Shawn Levy
  • Tom McNulty
  • Scott Neustadter
  • Michael Weber
  • Marc Shmuger

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