My rating: 8
IMDB rating: 7.3
IMDB link: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1714206/
As you will soon learn from my choice of films, I usually pick films according to a specific theme that I would want to investigate. One of the themes that has intrigued me since I saw the 1991 film Flirting by John Duigan and The Perks of Being a Wallflower (2012) by Stephen Chbosky is the coming-of-age or bildungsroman film.
The exploration of innocence and the lost thereof are always prominent in these narratives. When looking at something like The Perks of Being a Wallflower, we see that Charlie’s innocence, and also Aimee’s in this movie, is something weighing them down. And thereby they can only come to their own when some sort of loss of this innocence is achieved.
But The Spectacular Now takes the concept of innocence a bit further. As a child/teen we are allowed certain innocences; for example when we are very little we are allowed to believe in Santa Claus. For teens or young adults these lines start to get blurry as certain innocences are not allowed to adults. Sutter learns this the hard way, by living in the now he has allowed himself to be sustained by these innocences.
Part of his philosophy, living in the now, had always meant barely passing in school and therefore not worrying about college, but when the innocences surrounding his father is turned to responsibilities he cannot face these realities. He comes of age, not by reaching sexual maturity or by finally gaining an identity, but by finally seeing the truth behind the innocences his mother made him believe. He therefore loses those innocences, consequently face a range of life-changing decisions and finally comes of age.
As with life, it is easy to talk about violence, gender issues, racism, etc. but it is nearly impossible to talk about love. To me, this movie showed teenage love in its most truest form. That destructive first love, heightened by the constant surge of hormones, throw in a little bit of proneness to self-destruction and you have the earth-shattering love of Cassidy.
Juxtaposed to that whirlwind of emotions, we have Sutter’s love for Aimee; sensible, endearing, mutually influential (yes, she starts having a nasty drinking habit because of him) , love above all reason. Sutter says it himself after he nearly kills her in an accident, “I almost just killed you and you wanna know if I’m okay?” Aimee is his “coming-of-age catalyst” as it is her unconditional love and devotion that helps Sutter ‘lose’ his innocences. It is also Aimee that in her quietness teaches him that you cannot love another lest you love yourself.
-This film has so many life lessons, see why I love coming-of-age films?!-
The last thing I want to mention is the absolutely gorgeous scene where they first make love. I could literally feel my heart racing away with the emotion both on-screen and those that the scene evoked in me. You cannot help being transported back to your own first kiss, your own first love that you believed would change the world with you. It starts with both of them just sitting there, awkwardly laughing at each other and it just builds and builds to one of my favourite scenes in cinema!
I also want to share my favourite quote of this movie: Sutter says to his teacher,
Everyone’s tellin’ me that I’ve gotta move on, I don’t see what’s so great about bein’ an adult. Are you happy?
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