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The Future


'The Future''s so bright, I gotta ... hey, who moved my shades?

Rod Lott November 23rd, 2011

Love it or hate it — and there are sure to be vocal supporters of each pole — writer/director Miranda July's "The Future" is undeniably a work of originality. Have you ever seen a film narrated by a euthanized cat with renal failure? I rest my case.

thefuture

July and Hamish Linklater (TV's "The New Adventures of Old Christine") portray Sophie and Jason, a couple for four years and running. So strong is their cozy, arty union that they've decided to adopt a cat. It's sickly and healing at the animal hospital, however, so they have a month before Paw-Paw is theirs.

They get it in their heads that the month of waiting could be their last month, period, so Sophie and Jason irrationally and spontaneously ditch their respective jobs as dance teacher and tech-support operator to invite what the world sees fit to bring them. For him, that's going door-to-door for an environmental cause; for her, it's ... well, you wouldn't believe me if I told you.

So I won't, other than to say that "The Future" represents July's stab at reality-based science fiction, filtered through an indie lens — much like the recent "Another Earth," but with a sense of humor. No part approaches the hilarity of the "I want to poop back and forth" scene in July's bravura debut, 2005's "Me and You and Everyone We Know," but all are equally skewed, especially with her own consistency in performances across the two films; put bluntly, she acts as if she's a mentally handicapped by a touch or greater.

The second half of "The Future" purposely baffles in the same way as the Coen brothers did early in their career (think "Barton Fink") or as David Lynch (think anything): It has a point, but leaves it to you to connect the dots, to determine what just happened and why. If you like having everything spelled out and then tied in neat bows, you’ll hate why July gives you, but I adore movies like this, where every frame bears its creator’s distinctive stamp.

It’s not perfect. Nor does it have to be. —Rod Lott

 
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