Thursday, November 24, 2011

The Future (C-)

Miranda July's slightly new film, The Future, is difficult to classify under any specific genre. Is it a drama? Is it a dark comedy? Is it a profound evaluation of the universe like Terrance Malick or Werner Hertzog-lite? Frankly, even after watching the film, I'm not completely sure. For those who have never heard of the film, here is its synopsis from IMDB:

"When a couple decides to adopt a stray cat their perspective on life changes radically, literally altering the course of time and space and testing their faith in each other and themselves."

I admit to never seeing July's other film, Me, You, and Everyone We Know, for the last rhetorical question of this review I must ask: Is this other film even half as strange as The Future? There's nothing I want less than for people to think I'm a singleminded movie watcher who wants nothing less than to think about the movies he watches, but I really just didn't "get" this film. Through reading other reviews, I've heard this film called numerous complimentary adjectives I can't even remember, but to me all this film was, was a whimsically dull mess.

Though I'm assuming this was done intentionally to match the overall tone and style of the film, the acting of Miranda July and Hamish Linklater as the protagonist hipster couple was so horrifically flat that there was almost no entertainment value to be found from it. The characters in this film are so awkward and unlikable (with Linklater being the exception, because he is only awkward) that you don't care about how they feel or what they do; rooting for their relationship is equivalent to rooting for two sticks to move on their own. Granted, that metaphor makes no sense whatsoever, but I hope my point got across. Actually, a better example other than the "sticks" would be that the most relatable and understandable character in the film is a talking cat named Paw-Paw whose voice sounds ripped straight out of a horror movie.

Miranda July does insert some interesting ideas into the film (the entire "moon speaking" sequence in the middle is pretty darn fantastic), but overall as said previously, the whole experience is like watching a whimsical mess. Though the film cannot be summed up in one specific genre, the film can however be summed up in one specific scene. Toward the end of the film, July finds a shirt on the ground. Instead of simply putting the shirt away, she puts it on, and proceeds to do a series of dances inside of it (note: not dancing with the shirt on, but literally dancing inside the shirt). Though the scene may perhaps be an attempt at something profound, when looking at it, all it really is is just some hipster dancing inside their shirt.

Grade: C-


  1. I think it's kind of cruel to qualify this as hipster cinema when it's just basic art cinema taken to one of its more unflattering degrees, but saying its a 'whimsical mess' probably suits it a bit more.

    Her first film is fantastic, which makes this one a hell of a disappointment.

  2. I really didn't intend the fact that they're hipsters to be a main element in the review, but when re-reading it certainly does come off that way.

    "Me, You, and Everyone We Know" is just one of those movies I've always heard good things about, but never actually seen. Though this film was definitely a bust, I'm still interested in seeking it out.