Review: The Future (2011)

Director: Miranda July

**

There’s one quick way to tell whether or not The Future will be to your liking. It’s narrated by a cat. Yes, that’s right, a cat. If that sounds too whimsical or plainly silly for your taste, then Miranda July’s latest film is best avoided. Indeed, it’s best avoided anyway.

July’s previous film Me And You And Everyone We Know was whimsical but also emotionally relevant with great performances. In The Future July plays a similar character to the one she played in her previous effort; a slightly eccentric dancer. July’s Sophie and her boyfriend Jason (Hamish Linklater) are about to adopt the afore-mentioned cat (Paw-Paw, voiced by July), but it causes them to rethink their lives. They decide to quit their jobs and pursue the projects they never got the chance to do before the cat moves in in 30 days. Sophie begins filming herself dancing, whilst Jason dumps his role as an IT customer service rep to sell trees. There’s a lot to be said for the carpe diem mentality, but there’s only so much diem these characters can carpe before you feel like slapping them and telling them to pull themselves together. Even before their decision to provide the feline with a family and leaving work, the lead characters appear too louche and uninteresting for us to care, as evidenced by Sophie’s liaison with a printer (David Warshofsky). Like so many occurrences in The Future, it’s not explained or justified, it just happens. July and Linklater make for a twee little couple but, much like the movie, you’ll either be charmed by their happy-go-lucky attitude or annoyed by their quirks.

July’s script is too full of quirky whimsicality for it to be anything more than mildly amusing at best (some of the laughs may be intended, some may not) and very annoying at worst. It’s hard to extrapolate any particular kind of commentary from this pile of sugar. It’s even harder to take any lessons on love seriously when Jason actually asks the moon for advice, especially when the moon actually replies! The Future boasts a few mirthful moments, but it spends most of its time groping for depth in amongst the quirkiness, with annoyingly hipster-ish characters and a narrating cat with a grating voice. The Future is best left behind in the past.

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