“The Spectacular Now” / Scott Neustadter and Michael H. Weber, from the novel by Tim Tharp
In their first produced screenplay, “(500) Days of Summer,” Scott Neustadter and Michael H. Weber demonstrated an uncanny knack for stylizing the contemporary romantic experience, using cutesy tricks and a nonlinear structure to connect with young audiences. In many ways, their adaptation of Tim Tharp’s novel “The Spectacular Now” feels just the opposite, cutting past surface tricks to zero in on the truth of young love.
Here is a film that is honest about such serious issues as teenage drinking and the impact of divorce without ever lapsing into TV-movie territory. Without sacrificing wit, the duo wrote candidly enough that performers Miles Teller and Shailene Woodley earned a special jury prize at Sundance. The citation, for “rare honesty, naturalism and transparency,” starts with the source material.
— Peter Debruge