Sutter is a high school senior who lives for the moment; Aimee is the introvert he attempts to “save.” As their relationship deepens, the lines between right and wrong, friendship and love, and “saving” and corrupting become inextricably blurred.
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Superficially, Ponsoldt's new film, The End of the Tour, which focuses on no less a singularity than David Foster Wallace, looks like a deviation from his first two, but they all share at least one theme in common: addiction and recovery. TSN's Sutter, a full-blown alcoholic, grooms his girlfriend to become one as well, but his real addiction is to the dead-end romance of "living in the moment." Canny and auspicious.
Trailers were quick to market "Now" as another one of those dreadful 'this is the greatest time of our lives!'-style high school films when, in truth, the movie serves as an artful subversion of those same tropes. We watch - not in rapture but in horror - as these two teenagers are compelled towards each other in an increasingly self-destructive relationship that registers as authentic rather than Hollywood drama.
Too many scenes come across as being awkward rather than organic - as the improvisational nature of the piece intends to be-; the growing relationship between Sutter and Aimee plateauing after the first kiss. There's no sense of evolution, romance or, even, learning. Unfortunately, it's a very underwhelming film.
A fresh take on the old subject of belonging and the search for meaning, Pondsoldt treats the audience with respect, refrains from lecturing and gets warm, nuanced performances from both Teller and Woodley. This is a great tale about waking up to oneself. 3 stars
My only issue is there is not equal development between the two characters. It starts out like there will be, but then becomes more caught up in Sutter's life and neglects Aimee and her apparently controlling mother. Other than that, this is truly wonderful teen-movie filmmaking.