Sophie (Miranda July) has the simple dream of one day expressing herself through the movement of dance. Jason (Hamish Linklater) is her boyfriend who shares her keen interest of self identity and expression. After they decide (at the age of 35) that they’ll nearly be 40 – then nearly 50 – then they’ll die, they release themselves from the few responsibilities they currently hold. Jason takes up going door to door to save the planet and Sophie feels compelled to do something much crazier to pass the time. Action in the real world is interspersed with little ‘cat’ monologues from the point of view of the stray cat which the overly self involved couple intends to adopt at the end of the month.
This is July’s second feature after ‘You Me and Everyone Else We Know’, an easily loveable and rewatchable experience, but The Future offers a far more sweetly melancholic universe with trapped escapist characters living in a small, messy apartment making it difficult for the couple to avoid breathing down each other’s neck. There are moments of ingenuity, especially Jason’s miraculous power of halting time on earth and controlling the waves because the Moon is too tired, all using the power of his heartbreak. Yeah, that stands out.
The performances themselves are fairly impressive, blossoming from July’s sublime talent to create dialogue and scenes like no other indie filmmaker out there. Her character feels like a reaction to the complete lack of the complex and undiscovered women ignored in mainstream cinema. Hamish Linklater completes the duo as the shy, geeky type you could see being left out at school. You know, like you could see him creating a film blog. Or something. Joe Putterlik also nabs a memorable performance as an old man representing the generation before us who committed their time to what they loved, posing an interesting question about the instant gratification nature of today’s society. Like the poster, July has an upside down, un-pidgeon holeable perspective of L.A., of relationships, of the Future, the past and the present.
July’s style effortlessly avoids any and all ways one could define genre from. Similarly, her main characters hold the belief that the only way they can live a fulfilling life and have a healthy relationship is through spontaneity but it is in their attempts to break free from a ‘normal’ and boring life that they actually find themselves equally trapped under an apathy-inducing routine. Naturally, July’s filmmaking style will irritate some audiences due to the relentless nature of the scenes (this is probably the longest 90 minute film I’ve ever seen), but she is committed to her art and clearly fascinated with the little things we never see in film – either due to the invention of ‘archetypal characters’ and screenwriting courses etc. Alfred Hitchcock once said ‘film is life with the boring bits cut out’. Well, Miranda July makes films with the normal bits cut out.