Wednesday, January 1, 2014

DECEMBER 2013: The Act of Killing, Blue is the Warmest Color, The Spectacular Now


The Act of Killing

Director: Joshua Oppenheimer
With: Anwar Congo

Blue is the Warmest Color

Director: Abdellatif Kechiche
With: Adèle Exarchopoulos, Léa Seydoux

The Spectacular Now

Director: James Ponsoldt
With: Miles Teller, Shailene Woodley, Brie Larson, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Kyle Chandler

For those who don't have any idea about The Spectacular Now and want to see it solely because of the trailer, I'm warning you, it's not as fun and romantic as it looks. Sorry to break it to you but this film is not a feel good movie. For sure. People were comparing this to The Perks of Being a Wallflower but the only similarity it has for the latter is its high school setting. The film stars Miles Teller as Sutter, a high school senior and happy-go-lucky party-goer who unexpectedly meets Aimee (Shailene Woodley) in a stranger's lawn after a wild drunken night. Aimee, a not-so-popular 'good girl' of their batch quickly falls in love with Sutter. What starts as a cute romance develops into a serious and quite dark reality of life. For a film with high school puppy love as its theme, this is definitely a heavy one.

Miles Teller and Shailene Woodley does not have the compatibility one look in a romantic film but their realistic connection and portrayal of an unlikely couple transcends to the outcome of their characters' relationship. It's like watching a real life romantic relationship unfold before your eyes when you know that one of them is not good for the other. As the film progresses, your love for Aimee increases but it is the other way around for Sutter, despite being the popular man that he is in his batch. It is in the third act when you'll finally understand Sutter's actions when he finds out deeper and more complex details about his life. It destroyed him leading to a very nostalgic Emma Morley-esque fate for one of the characters. (I also just want to include how it's kind of funny that Miles Teller in this film has an exactly similar slow-motion car scene in his other film Rabbit Hole. It's too comparable it's funny. :3) But anyway, at the end of the film, it gives one of the characters a dilemma whether to accept and give someone a second chance or move on from the people that hurt that character. For the other, it is about correcting one's mistakes and knowing that there's always time for another new and good beginning.

The Spectacular Now emphasizes that high school is indeed a phase in our lives where it's okay to commit mistakes, to make wrong decisions and to experience 'puppy problems' but only because it hones us to be the better version of our future selves. The ironic thing is that when we're in high school, we're not aware of these circumstances. We're carefree and we knew that we had our whole lives ahead of us. Aimee and Sutter are no different and I wouldn't be surprised if most people see themselves with them. But I wish the film was lighter because in the end, most of us consider high school as one of the best stages of our lives.