Film Review: The Future
During one of the early moments of Miranda July’s latest (and belated), a little girl in an animal adoption home reveals that ‘my mommy left me, she’s a free spirit’. The following sentence would naturally permit a correlation between the aforementioned child and a similarly estranged audience. But the truth is that the film – even for a film with such an avid knit-cap hipster core demo – isn’t remotely bad or irritating enough to level such a delightfully cruel invective upon. What is surprising however is that for film in which the director/star also puppeteers and voices a neglected cat named Paw Paw, that it never forces the quirk that other hipster hacks like Wes Anderson or his chum Noah Baumbach revel in. The strangest sensation running through The Future is the fact that you begin to miss it.
Indeed, the film revels in melancholy. Failure is the order of the day for the central couple played by July and similarly mop-headed co-star Haimish Linklater, a pair of regret sodden thirtysomethings. During the film they will fail to perform thirty dances in a month, maintain their commitment, sell trees and adopt a cat. Yet, there is something endearing about the two of them. Their antics (or lack thereof) are sweet natured enough, but then that is symptomatic of the overall problem with the proceedings. What is the point to anything if nothing has any point? The conclusion has no catharsis, apparently supernatural events take place without any real rhyme or reason and aren’t even treated whimsically enough to justify them. It is impossible to be emotionally invested in characters who wallow in their despondency, certainly there is a truthfulness to the fact that we will all look back and wonder ‘where it all went wrong?’ The difference is however that life doesn’t stop there, The Future here ironically grinds to a halt. Possibility is thrown asunder and complacency holds sway in the closing moments of the film. Rendering the proceedings meaningless, or otherwise unsympathetically apathetic.
All complaints considered, July is undeniably imaginative and inventive in what she is keen to show us. With the medium of film she finds a unique outlet for her own brand of performance art, from being stalked and encapsulated by a stretchy yellow t-shirt with a life of its own and of course the personification of Paw Paw himself. She also demonstrates a flair with sound, even silence seems to have its own unique identity at times. It’s a shame that she isn’t more capable in conjuring a story as equally open to invention, in fact, one suspects that a collaboration between her and DIY music video whizz Michel Gondry is just what the doctor ordered.