Looking back a year later…
The moment Aimee Finicky appears onscreen is perhaps the most remarkable instant out of many great moments in this film. The light must have been exactly perfect and everything seems calm and serene. The only thing we focus on is the initial meeting between two individuals, and that’s all that matters. That anxious face obscured by the light. That voice tinged with worry and relief. As an audience, we have our first encounter with the girl that the same Sutter who is sprawled on the ground, will fall for over the course of the film. However, right now he can’t remember who she is. There could not have been a better meet cute.
Fast forward to the ending of The Spectacular Now. So much has taken place in a short span of 90 minutes, it’s hard to keep track of it all. Just like much of the high school experience. Aimee and Sutter have been on an emotional roller coaster which Sutter has succeeded in derailing, but he has a new resolve and he will not waste this opportunity in the now.
There she is walking down the steps of her new college. Pleasant looking as always, undoubtedly with thoughts of academia swirling around pushing her past memories into the back of her mind. Then, all of a sudden they’re all right in front of her again in the form of Sutter.
There is a look on her face that is almost indescribable and it seems apparent that words are about to form on her lips, and the film cuts away. It is absolutely maddening as an audience who has become so invested in the story of these two high schoolers.
For some reason, this final shot of Aimee reminds me of The Tramp’s final reaction in City Lights. It might be a stretch but in both situations, there is a tinge of hope, but there is still this uncomfortable feeling of the unknown. And yet if we had known the resolution both these films would have lost some of their allure and City Lights is Chaplin’s masterpiece. As of right now The Spectacular Now is a little blimp on the radar in 2013. Shailene Woodley and Miles Teller might change that with the rate they are going. They certainly do not have the weight of the one and only Charlie Chaplin, but I am sure both of them are destined for numerous other great performances.