2013 was a year stuffed with high-profile film adaptations of young adult bestsellers — most of which ended up crashing and burning at the box office. (Alas, Beautiful Creatures, Mortal Instruments, Percy Jackson, and Ender’s Game — no Harry Potter-style cultural dominance for you.) But while each of those big-budget spectacles flailed, a humbler YA-based movie quietly emerged as the year’s best teen flick: The Spectacular Now, out on DVD today.
Spectacular is a sweet but dark love story about gregarious alcoholic Sutter (Miles Teller) and his relationship with his smart, slightly nerdy classmate Aimee (Shailene Woodley). What you may not realize before seeing the film, however, is that The Spectacular Now isn’t just a typical teen romance told through an indie-fied lens. “I think it’s a very unhealthy dynamic that the two of them have together,” Woodley recently told EW. “One of the things that first drew me to Spectacular Now was that in high school, so many girls fall in love with someone, and they end up losing a lot of who they are because they’re so into the other person. And I went through that in high school, where I sort of gave myself away for a different human being. It was a really toxic relationship.”