Sunday, April 3, 2011

DIFF review THE FUTURE- She said

Directed by Miranda July
Written by Miranda July
Starring: Miranda July and Hamish Linklater

THE FUTURE is a story about love and a semi-midlife crisis. We meet our couple, Sophie (Miranda July) and Jason (Hamish Linklater), at a very pivotal moment in their lives. They’re adopting a cat. However, they’re not allowed to pick up the cat for a month because Paw-Paw needs a little more time to heal his broken leg. They treat this adoption almost as if they’re adopting a child because once the cat comes home, their lives will change forever and pretty much stop. So, they decide to live out the next 30 days as if it’s their last. During these 30 days, they realize something. They’re 35 with no real life prospects, and this cat will be the biggest event for them in who knows how long.

Sophie, a failed, toddler dance teacher, decides to perform “30 dances in 30 days” and post them on YouTube. She’s convinced they’ll be a success. When she struggles to stay committed, she complains to her boyfriend, to which he bluntly responds, “No one really cares anyway.” Hurtful, but deep down she knows it. Jason, on the other hand, loathes his job as a help desk agent. So during the 30 days, he does something he’s probably never done before, he quits. He then has a semi-existential moment where he believes to keep his mind open and clear because an opportunity/job will come to him. Sure enough it does, in the form of a grassroots worker for working on getting L.A. more green. (Pause for the situational irony).

Throughout Sophie and James’ deterioration of their relationship and this specific chapter of their lives, we’re treated with commentary from Paw-Paw the cat. That’s right…a talking cat. Sound cheesy? It is, but somehow it works, and the cat becomes the most sympathetic and endearing character within the film. He juxtaposes their tragic ending with his bright-eyed beginning. His hope is so heart-warming. He has this optimistic view of starting a new life, while their new “life” ends very pessimistically.

The movie flips between being a bit pretentious yet somehow sweet. There are moments, both real and (extremely) symbolic, that pop up within the movie. Sophie’s quiet, dry, yet somehow funny personality is the driving force behind the movie. She’s captivating in an odd sort of way. You find her annoying at times, but in the end, she ends up being a tragic figure. She represents a generation that once had high aspirations, but got stuck in a bad job, boring relationship, and now wants to try and do something with what time they have left.

In the later half of the movie, time literally stops for Jason, and even though he doesn’t notice, the world keeps moving without him. At this point, the movie desperately tries to build symbol upon symbol as a commentary for a deteriorating relationship. It got old and a little too odd very quickly.
Overall the movie was neither here or there. I can see where it was trying to be poignant, but it just came off exactly that…trying. It always felt like it was on the verge of something new and fantastic, but unfortunately, it never was achieved.

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