Lionsgate // 2011 // 91 Minutes // Rated R
Reviewed by Judge Brett Cullum // November 29th, 2011
From the director, writer, and star of Me and You and Everyone We Know.
Miranda July is a performance artist who also writes short stories, and she is widely known for her critically praised feature film debut called Me and You and Everyone We Know. She is a unique voice in cinema, and The Future works in much the same way as her first film. It's a safe bet if you liked her last movie then this one will work just as well. It's a film about the anxiety of what you are doing with your life, where the journey goes, and what people expect of that.
In this story Miranda plays Sophie who is a 35 year-old free spirit living happily in a cramped apartment with her boyfriend Jason (Hamish Linklater, Fantastic Four). They work go-nowhere jobs, surf the Internet, and aspire to one day adopt a stray cat. They do find the kitty they want, but it has to stay in the shelter for another month until it is treated for health issues that threaten its life. The two realize once this month is over they will be responsible for something that will require daily care, and they will need to get serious and buckle down. So they go a little crazy, quit their jobs, and look to do things they would normally shun, because they know the future is closing in on them. The rest of the film deals with their anxiety about how things should be, and how things could change. There is an overall panic that they are nowhere near where they should be for their age with very little to show for it.
The loose narrative allows Miranda July to do what she does best which includes dancing, reciting poems, and just being freaky. This is a movie about that strange art chick in your school who had big eyes, messy hair, and you found often howling out a window for no good reason. She turns everything into one extended identity crisis, and she analyzes things until they are reduced to silly threads of little meaning. It is entertaining, brilliant, and sometimes grating. Miranda also provides a heartbreaking performance as the voice of the stray cat who pines away in a shelter cage waiting for them to come claim him. The movie often stops so we can hear his thoughts which are the most clear-headed and rational streams of dialogue in the film.
There is a strange sense of magic in The Future. Not only is there a talking cat, but there is also a conversational moon. One character can stop time altogether when a break-up is imminent, and another is haunted by a t-shirt that moves around on its own. None of this is pushed to the forefront however, because the film truly is mostly about a man and a woman who have to face a crisis of what life means to them. There is an inconvenient affair in the mix that offers the couple a look at suburban life, which may be more horrifying for them than anything else that their coming days hold.
The DVD has a nice transfer on it, one that displays the low budget film with nice crisp colors and natural flesh tones. A full surround sound treatment is overkill since most of this piece uses the two front speakers for music and dialogue. Extras include a commentary by writer, director, and lead actress Miranda July. She does a nice job telling us all the details about her film and process. Next up is a behind-the-scenes feature which goes even more in depth about the making of the film. Miranda talks some more about the origins of the film, and we see some of her performance art that inspired the script. There is a deleted scene that actually works as a short on its own. Also included is the theatrical trailer which spoils a lot of major plot points if you watch it before the feature.
There is something oddly comforting about The Future and simultaneously unnerving. Miranda July has developed into one of the few truly unique voices in cinema, and she has a signature style that works for her. Her ideas are large yet the delivery is intimate. The Future is quirky, fun, and unsettling all at once. It is unlike anything you have seen before, and that's tough to do nowadays.
Guilty of letting an art chick loose with a small budget and a camera, The
Future belongs to the tradition of performance artists and verbose kitty
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Scales of Justice
* 1.78:1 Anamorphic
* Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (English)
Running Time: 91 Minutes
Release Year: 2011
MPAA Rating: Rated R
* Deleted Scene
* Official Site