The Spectacular Now is a 2013 film based on a novel of the same name by Tim Tharp. It’s a coming-of-age movie about teens figuring out their lives. Although the theme is generic, The Spectacular Now is more than just a romantic film. It has 3-dimensional protagonists with many complexities, so it’s not easy to watch. The Spectacular Now ending is very vague and leaves viewers with a lot of questions. It is neither happy nor sad, it’s interpretive.
The story follows the life of a problematic young boy, Sutter Keely. He is the popular boy at school and is seen partying & drinking most of the film. Keely’s destructive habits and unhealthy parental relations mess him up. Neither retrospective nor futuristic, he just wants to make the ‘now’ spectacular. On the other hand, Aimee Finecky is a shy nerd who falls in love with Sutter. Although both are polar opposites, they make each other a better version of themselves.
The Spectacular Now Summary
A teen romance that seems perfect at first. Sutter Keely, a senior at high school, never took life seriously. Until one day, his girlfriend Cassidy dumps him leaving him heartbroken. After a night of drinking & partying, he blacks out and finds himself on a lawn the next day. And turns out it was Aimee’s lawn, and that’s how they first meet.
When he learns more about Aimee, he finds her smart, funny & kind. Moreover, even her relationship with her mother is not like that of regular people. Slowly the two get closer, and Sutter becomes a better person. But when his attempt to mend his relationship with his father goes south. He loses his temper & even snaps at Aimee for loving him.
Now, completely lost and unsure about his future, Sutter goes back to his old habits. He even quits his job when his boss demands his sobriety at work. However, towards the end, he has a confrontation with his mother. Perhaps that brews something in him, and therefore he decides to do what he does.
The Spectacular Now Ending Explained
After a heated argument with his mother, Sutter realizes he is loved & cared for. He regrets abandoning Aimee, who is now in Philadelphia for college. On the verge of ruining his life, he finds the strength to get it back together.
Although he misses all the college application deadlines, he still completes his form to reaccess his life. In the end, he realizes that his biggest problem is not anyone else but himself. And that his way of living life in the ‘now’ is not always healthy.
In The Spectacular Now ending, we see Keely going to Philadelphia to be with Aimee. However, we don’t know the exact motive behind this move, whether he wants to get back together or bid adieu forever.
Even Aimee’s bittersweet smile sends mixed signals to the viewers. It could be optimistic, but it could also be the opposite. Perhaps Aimee’s love for Sutter is indestructible & she is happy to see him. Or she finally realized his presence in her life is toxic, hence the ambiguous smile.
There is no certain ending to the movie, but it definitely ends on a hopeful note. On the one hand, Keely finally thinks about his future and makes a rational decision. And on the other, Aimee is learning to put herself over Keely. This is why she doesn’t accept him as soon as she sees him in Philidelphia. They might get back together, or they might not, the ending is open for interpretation.
The Cast of This Movie
Famous for his roles in Footloose and Fantastic Four (2015), Miles Teller plays the popular but broken high schooler Sutter Keely. Fault in Our Stars fame, Shailene Woodley, plays the adorable, shy nerd Aimee Finecky. Brie Larson is also part of the cast and plays Sutter’s ex-girlfriend Cassidy.
In the Keely family, the mom Sara Keely is played by Jennifer Jason Leigh. Kyle Chandler and Mary Winstead play Tommy Keely (father) and Holly Keely (sister), respectively. Other incredible actors who are part of the film are Dayo Okeniyi, Andre Royo, Bob Odenkirk, and Kaitlyn Dever.
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