Parents' Guide to

The Spectacular Now

By Sandie Angulo Chen, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 16+

Poignant teen drama doesn't shy away from alcohol or sex.

Movie R 2013 95 minutes
The Spectacular Now Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

Community Reviews

age 15+

Based on 8 parent reviews

age 15+

Perfect High School Romance Movie!

Common Sense Media is being overly dramatic with their rating. There is hardly any sex and while there is excessive drinking, it is nothing compared to a regular high school party! It is a great film that I will recommend to anybody 15 or older!
age 18+

Don't watch this!

Worst film in history! Don't watch this! No person should ever waste their time.

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (8 ):
Kids say (14 ):

Screenwriters Scott Neustadter and Michael H. Weber set out to make a teen movie like the John Hughes dramedies they grew up watching, and they've aptly succeeded. The Spectacular Now is so much more (nuanced, well acted, thought-provoking) than the average sex- and party-obsessed teen fare. Like The Perks of Being a Wallflower, The Spectacular Now doesn't shy away from showing that teens can and do have sex and drink (Sutter is a basically a highly functioning alcoholic), but it also shows how deeply teens feel and think and hope to make a difference, whether it's in the immediate moment, like Sutter, or in the future, like Cassidy or Marcus (Dayo Okeniyi).

Adapted from a contemporary YA novel, there are no vampires or werewolves or totalitarian governments in sight in THE SPECTACULAR NOW; this is realistic fiction at its best and most poignant. The Spectacular Now is very much set in the now, but it's also timeless. Teller, looking a bit like a young John Cusack, is a perfect high school everyman. He's brilliant, and Woodley is every bit as vulnerable and outstanding as she was in The Descendants. If only more movies about teenagers were this honest and funny and moving (and prone to spark meaningful discussion between teens and their parents). The late Hughes would be proud.

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