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FUTURE, THE (director/writer: Miranda July; cinematographer: Nikolai von Graevenitz; editor: Andrew Bird; music: Jon Brion; cast: Hamish Linklater (Jason), Miranda July (Sophie), David Warshofsky (Marshall), Isabella Acres (Gabriella), Joe Putterlik (Joe/the Moon); Runtime: 91; MPAA Rating: R; producers: Gina Kwon/Roman Paul/Gerhard Meixner; Roadside Attractions; 2011)

“Kooky indie experimental film that might have something intelligent to say about leading a weird life, but was such a tiresome watch that it turned me off.”

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

Miranda July(“Me and You and Everyone We Know”)directs this kooky indie experimental film that might have something intelligent to say about leading a weird life, but was such a tiresome watch that it turned me off. The quirky performance artist, Miranda July, plays the thirtysomething Sophie, a string-bean dance instructor of pre-school children, who is an LA resident in a dead-end passive relationship with live-in look-alike boyfriend Jason (Hamish Linklater). The polite man-child works from home on a low-level computer-tech support job helping consumers. Both are OK at their jobs, but are unable to overcome their emotional shortcomings and be mature enough to act their age. They feel like failures because they are not doing what they dreamed they should be doing.

The cutey-pie naive couple go to an animal shelter to adopt a stray cat, hoping it will bring a new energy to them and make them act more responsible. They adopt a sick cat and will have to wait a month for her recovery. Sadly they are also informed if they don’t adopt, the cat will be put down. Their hearts go out to the cat and they fully prepare to care for the cat, as both quit their jobs and anxiously get ready to get on with a new phase of their life. In the meantime, the dying cat, named Paw Paw, tells us about her angst (using July’s scratchy voice). At the shelter, Jason on an impulse buys a portrait drawn by a fifty-ish single dad (David Warshofsky) of his six-year-old daughter (Isabella Acres), as the sale raises money for the shelter. By phone the bored Sophie contacts the wealthy Valley-dwelling dad, owner of a company that makes banners, and begins an awkward affair with him that was, if anything, unpleasant to watch.

While waiting for their cat: Sophie tries but fails to create a new dance move to post on YouTube every day; while Jason unsuccessfully goes door to door throughout LA to get people to donate money to a charity called Tree by Tree, that wishes to help the environment. To save dough, the couple close their Internet service. This, of course, makes it difficult for Sophie to score on YouTube. During this critical time frame, Paw Paw dreams about the future and wonders what she would write if she could write her new parents a letter.

To even get to a hint of what this weirdo pic is all about after it makes a fuss about a man on the moon, the unknown, death as another beginning, decision-making, time standing still, false hope, a teetering romance, disappointments over careers, childish games played by both children and adults, and awkward personal interactions, the viewer has to get over long stretches of a movie that are perverse, boring and opaque. If not willing to do so and not receptive to the movie’s strange charms, the viewer will probably find the pic annoying. Though imaginative and unsettling, it might be too peculiar and difficult to sit through for your typical mainstream audience and might be too whimsical for the arty crowd. Which probably means this is a cult film, one whose future is not determined.


Dennis Schwartz: “Ozus’ World Movie Reviews”