Jun 13, 2011
Sydney Film Festival Review: The Future
Director: Miranda July
Release Date: Australia TBC
Runtime: 91 mins
Let it be known that we find Miranda July adorable. Let it also be known that the online reactions to the film following the Sydney Film Festival screening were not all positive; we're here to give an alternative view.
In her follow-up directorial effort from 2005's Me and You and Everyone We Know, Miranda July takes us inside the lives of 30-something children's dance teacher Sophie (Miranda July) and IT consultant Jason (Hamish Linklater): right at the very moment they feel their lives will change forever.
These hip, well-meaning Los Angelens are about to make the ultimate sacrifice on their personal and professional lives: adoption. Of Paw Paw, the cat. Sophie and Jason quit their jobs in the countdown to the adoption date in order to live like it's their last month on earth—she to post 30 dances on the internet and upstage her slutty colleagues, he to save the environment by virtue of his new post as door-to-door tree salesman. Our fearful feline narrator, Paw Paw (voiced by July), is the central catalyst—the ball of yarn, if you wish— around which the story unfurls, providing a central point of reference but also some of the film's biggest laugh-out-loud moments.
Jealousies emerge early on in the process, when Sophie can't finish one whole dance and Jason can't sell a single tree; Sophie believes strongly that Jason is more successful in their quest to be aware and 'notice things', making choices that will alter her future with Jason forever. The themes of deception, truth, and the overarching need to know what happens next are integrated well throughout the film. Jason's conversations with the Moon, in particular, add emotional resonance as well as stylistic quirk to an overall excellent film.
To the surprise of the audience, the story even gets a little Sci-fi, using time travel to explain the possibilities and consequences the couple now face in light of what the future looks certain to hold. With an indie soundtrack to die for and genuinely offbeat, humorous writing, this hearty dose of July's finely-tuned brand of deliciously awkward will leave viewers with a bittersweet aftertaste. Sadness never looked so good.
The Future is in Official Competition at the 2011 Sydney Film Festival.