Last year’s beautiful film The Spectacular Now blew me away. It captures all the awkwardness of teenage love, the beautiful spontaneity and connection, the sense of loss, and all the hardships so well. It’s really funny, devastating, and passionate, and the I love the kinetic energy between the actors. It’s hard not to love Shailene Woodley in her spirited role. She plays Aimee, a nice girl who’s into science fiction and cool things, who meets Sutter, a friendly, popular dude with a drinking problem. Together, they begin a spontaneous and unplanned yet beautiful relationship. As Sutter’s drinking increases and his family life falls apart, however, the relationship endures turbulence, and we are all reminded about the hardships of young love. You feel for everyone here, they all have their problems and issues, but there’s beauty to each of their characters, and it really resonates when you watch it. Sutter’s ex girlfriend Kassidy was really likeable, and I could relate to her and I wanted her to do well and be happy. I liked this approach because oftentimes with coming of age films, the other girlfriend is usually portrayed as a menacing or unlikeable character. I saw a lot of myself in Sutter, and perhaps that’s why I connected with the film so strongly. I saw myself and my interest to please, and all the stupid mistakes and unintentional broken hearts I caused in my youth, and at the end, it brought me to tears. Still, I loved the experience, and that magical feeling of cosmic love. The direction is so personal and sentimental, and even though Shailene is gorgeous, they really toned down the makeup to make her appear like a normal girl, which I really liked. The film ends hopefully, and while it won’t satisfy all viewers, it’s enough for the believers to find comfort. Highly recommended.