The Future Directed by: Miranda July Cast: Miranda July, Hamish Linklater Running Time: 1 hr 31 mins Rating: R Release Date: August 5, 2011 (Chicago)
PLOT: On the day before they are set to adopt a cat named PawPaw (voiced by July), a couple (July and Hamish) weigh the options as to what it means for the rest of their lives.
WHO'S IT FOR?: Fans of Miranda July's Me You and Everyone We Know are probably all set for what to expect from this movie. For outsiders to July, this is for moviegoers who like a little quirk with their poetry.
The future is uncertain. That being said, July's new movie aptly uses such a title because it is aware of the endless questions concerning such an element in life. Even though The Future can be simple, it can also be unpredictable, like a talking cat.
The Future isn't made with the same type of raw, wrists-out emotion of a movie like Blue Valentine, but I found the newest film from artist/author/filmmaker Miranda July to be almost as effective as last year's indie-darling starring Ryan Gosling and Michelle Williams. After seeing this movie, with its strange scenarios and earnest portrayals of two people trying to exist together, you can't help but think as to where you fit into its universe. It's certainly impossible to avoid the overall question of how comfortable it makes us feel. Can't this almost be too personal for some of us?
Miranda July takes a bunch of strange elements (a talking cat, time freezing) and weaves their poetic potential into something that is as challenging as it hypnotic. The story events are unpredictable, however quiet the story may tell itself. The Future offers small surprises to the audience just as much as it piles on the food for emotional thought.
The one problem I have with The Future is strange, but with the movie's mood it must be addressed - what is happiness to the characters in this film? Neither of the characters played by July or Linklater have moments that feel outwardly joyful, at least to the perspective of the average person. Even the movie's bits of humor are so dry that a lack of liveliness seems to suggest a negative feeling.
Is this a stylistic point, especially with the movie's calm delivery of dialogue and extremely docile pacing? Or, is it perhaps just the difference of one viewer looking at a half glass with different perspectives?
It's hard to figure out the emotions of the characters of The Future because there is no happiness standard. Their emotions can even feel the same despite the variety of events in which they are expressed. In this manner, this is the only way in which the soft storytelling of The Future slightly backfires.
For the most part, July's film is adroitly contemplative and involving. With its unique imagery it says some beautiful things, even if it can't offer any guaranteed answers.
FINAL SCORE: 7/10