Miranda July, Hamish Linklater.
It was with bated breath that I (and everyone I know) longed for the release of Miranda July’s new movie, The Future, as her debut feature Me, You and Everyone We Know (2005) was just so… fantastic. This effort is more contemplative and less shockingly funny than her first film; that being said The Future is worth the wait. (Read our Miranda July interview.)
Trailer – Miranda July’s The Future:
The Future concerns a couple, Sophie (July) and Jason (Hamish Linklater, New Adventures of Old Christine) whose relationship reaches a neurotically-inspired crossroad when they go about doing something that is really quite simple – adopting a stray cat. In the interim period presented between their meeting with the injured feline, Paw-Paw, (whose painful, sweetly pathetic narration is voiced by July) and taking him home, the over-analytic duo concoct a complicated psychic mire borne of their own hypothetical neurosis and fears, culminating in a series of surreal events that force them to question, challenge and face both themselves and each other.
Writer and director July ably creates a cinematic world that manages to balance itself on a razor-sharp edge between everyday, mundane, domestic playfulness and non-linear storytelling, owing much to the complicated and mind-bendy notions of time-space continuum. The anchor of believability in the former is what allows for the delightfully organic blossoming of the latter.
“I’ve been gearing up to do something really incredible… for the past 15 years,” says Sophie. It is this complacent malaise experienced by these thirtysomething, post-Slacker commitmentphobes that is disrupted by the anxiety surrounding the impending adoption of the cat; its arrival ushering in a cataclysmic (no pun intended) shift to their otherwise comfortable existence.
In a roundabout way, Paw-Paw leads to Jason becoming intimately involved in the life of an elderly man whose wife has just died and Sophie becoming intimately involved with another man. Their separate yet parallel journeys are as seemingly random as they are inherently, cosmically connected (or so it would seem).
The couple’s explorations are equally sympathetic to and mocking of generational angst. Thematically the film contemplates a collective, social experience; that we are all yearning for meaningful connection. It is the varying degrees of anxiety reached by these characters in pursuit of connection that ultimately dictate their choices, thereby affecting the future they dread so much
One could perceive The Future as a shrouded, cynical swipe at a generation of anxiety-ridden, directionless, spoiled, hyperbolic schlubs whose superficial, unhappy lives are paralyzed by philosophical confusion. Fortunately there are enough painfully awkward yet weirdly erotic moments in this wistfully lovely film to obliterate any cynical notions. July has a knack for exploiting and exposing the power of odd, private moments and turning uniquely idiosyncratic behaviour into compelling and telling glimpses into her characters’ inner worlds.
One scene in which Sophie, a children’s dance instructor, stretches her t-shirt over her head only to re-emerge as a life-size dancing puppet struck me as odd, out-of-place, abstract and ugly – yet I found myself compelled by both the visual performance and the strangely sweet authenticity of the moment. Assuming happiness is a universal pursuit, The Future seems to probe the mysteries of the unknown further, asking its audience, “with whom do you want to share it?”
The Future opens (finally!) across Canada on Friday, October 28.
The Snipe is pleased to offer you, dear reader, a chance to win one of three double passes to the opening night screening of The Future at Vancity Theatre. Leave a comment below to enter. Winner will be chosen and contacted by noon on Friday, Oct 28. Good luck!