The Spectacular Now

James Ponsoldt, USA 2013, 95’

Two high school kids, a popular boy and a nerdy girl, a setup so often exploited by American films, rarely makes for truly exciting cinema. James Ponsoldt’s film, however,  is a treat: the iconic high school setting combined with the excellent cast, Sutter as interpreted by the skilled Miles Teller and Aimee Finicky played by the superb Shailene Woodley (The Descendants), work wonders in a movie that is  more bitter than most American films about teen angst. Ponsoldt also revisits the issue of alcoholism that he previously took on in Smashed. He avoids  moralizing or  diagnosing, opting instead for a view of a particularly difficult time of growing up so frequently examined by Gus van Sant. Directed with an unusually subtle touch, this film may join the  canon of coming-of-age stories.


2013 Seattle International Film Festival, Futurewave Youth Jury Award (James Ponsoldt), 2013 Sundance Film Festival, Nagroda Specjalna Jury / Special Jury Prize (Miles Teller & Shailene Woodley)

James Ponsoldt

James Ponsoldt (b. 1978 in Athens GA) received a BA from Yale and  an MFA from Columbia University. His shorts and his feature debut, Off the Black (starring Nick Nolte), have screened at over one hundred international festivals,  including Sundance, Tribeca, and Edinburgh.


Selected filmography

2003 Coming Down the Mountain

2006 Off the Black

2008 We Saw Such Things

2012 Smashed

2013 Cudowne tu i teraz / The Spectacular Now    

Related articles
Official site

Cast & Crew

director James Ponsoldt
screenplay Scott Neustadter, Michael H. Weber, Tim Tharp
cinematography Jess Hall
editing Darrin Navarro
music Rob Simonsen
cast Miles Teller, Shailene Woodley, Kyle Chandler, Mary Elizabeth Winstead
producer Tom McNulty, Shawn Levy
production 21 Laps Entertainment
sales The Walt Disney Company (Polska)
language English
coloration colour
stay in touch
festival partners