Astrology: Film: ‘The Spectacular Now’ (2013)



For many teens, even those with good grades, high school is a four-year stretch of fuzzed out, Neptunian captivity. The overall blurriness – a minimally defined sense of self, ample opportunity to idealize the wrong people and pursuits, and a dose or two or unrequited love – sends young minds scrambling to inhabit utopian fantasy worlds. For Sutter Keely (Miles Teller), the leading male character in James Ponsoldt’s The Spectacular Now, the conduit to nirvana is liquor.

Despite his claims about living in the present moment, Sutter, who’s a senior, sportingly drinks away his troubles – he’s even got his own flask, which he doesn’t hesitate to pull out at his part-time job. Recently dumped by his girlfriend, Cassidy (Brie Larson), Sutter clearly has a problem facing reality, despite his devil-may-care persona.

Then Sutter meets Aimee Finecky (Shailene Woodley), an exceptional fellow student, after she finds him early one morning passed out on her lawn after one of his benders. A logical assumption is she’ll be Sutter’s superior in every way and save him by good example.

However, Aimee exhibits another negative side of Neptune. She’s got a dictatorial mother she can’t confront and she’s so starved for affection – she can’t believe her good fortune as Sutter draws closer to her – that she becomes a bit of a doormat, as she increasingly focuses her attention on him. After the pair narrowly escapes a car accident – Sutter was driving – he tells her, “I almost killed you and you’re asking me if I’m okay.”

Raised by his mother (Jennifer Jason Leigh), who’s not forthcoming about her son’s father’s whereabouts, Sutter finally gets his way and pays an impromptu visit to his dad (Kyle Chandler). The older Keely’s irresponsibility and indifference to keeping his word – “I live in the now,” he says – suggests the acorn doesn’t fall far from the tree.

Fully immersing oneself in the present – an activity both Sutter and Aimee must master – requires squarely looking at it. The Spectacular Now demonstrates that the best Neptunian experiences are earned through hard work.

Astrology Film Review: ♆ (Neptune)

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