What parents need to know

Parents need to know that The Spectacular Now is a coming-of-age story adapted from author Tim Tharp's young adult novel about a hard-partying high school senior whose personal motto is to "live in the now." Although the movie is based on a YA book and is about high schoolers, it features constant underage alcohol consumption (the main character is an alcoholic), strong language ("f--k," "s--t," and more) and a couple of realistic sex scenes (one of which shows a glimpse of breast). Still, despite the mature content, the movie -- like the book -- will make teens think and offers an opportunity for parents and teens to talk about the problems with always living for the moment, the consequences of drinking/partying, and the risks of blowing off school, work, and other responsibilities to do your own thing.
  • Families can talk about all of the substance use in The Spectacular Now. How is it pivotal to the story? What are the consequences of Sutter's drinking? Are they realistic? Does he have a problem? What can/should you do if you know someone who drinks that much?
  • How are teen sexual relationships depicted? Were you surprised to see teenagers having sex in a way that wasn't played for laughs or for raunch factor? Parents, talk to your teens about your own values regarding sex and relationships.
  • Discuss Sutter's various relationships. Which ones are healthy, and which ones aren't? Does Sutter really know his parents? Why do you think he idolizes his father so much?
  • For those who've read the book, how faithful is the movie to the source material? Do you agree with the changes the filmmakers made? Those who haven't read the book: Does the movie make you want to read it?
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