Miles Teller, above, left, of Rabbit Hole, Footloose and Project X), who likes to think he is living in the now, but who is more often in some alcohol-induced mini-haze -- from which his most recent girlfriend seems to want out. Though she is played, and very well, by Brie Larson (below, right), you'll have to wait for the upcoming Short Term 12 to see Ms Larson really get the chance to shine.
Shailene Woodley (shown below and further below) who took the role of George Clooney's elder daughter in The Descendants, and the talent we noticed there was no fluke. Woodley makes Aimee such an odd, appealing, sad, struggling young woman that, as much as we care about Miles, it is she who carries the movie home.
Scott Neustadter and Michael H. Weber (from the novel by Tim Tharp) -- provides also gives us characters, scenes and situations we're not used to seeing in "teen" movies. These work so well in deepening the movie that, by the time you're going out of the theater, you'll realize you've seen a film about teenagers in which you identify with and care for these kids more than you could possibly have imagined going in.
Jennifer Jason Leigh, Bob Odenkirk, Kyle Chandler and Mary Elizabeth Winstead, is crème de la crème, as are the technical assets on view. But it's the unusual look at kids-on-the-cusp we're able to observe that makes the movie so special. The Spectacular Now is one of the most quietly spectacular movies of the year.