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Movie review: A peek into July's 'Future'

August 05, 2011|By Katherine Tulich
  • Miranda July as Sophie and Hamish Linklater as Jason, In The Future, written and directed by Miranda July. (Photo courtesy of Roadside Attractions)
Miranda July as Sophie and Hamish Linklater as Jason,…

Thinking about your future can be a scary prospect. Some find it’s easier to live in the distraction of the moment or hope for time to stand still, while others mourn the inertia of their life and see little hope of change. These themes are all explored in Miranda July’s whimsical, sometimes surrealistic film, “The Future,” which she wrote, directed and stars in.

July, whose first film was the much-lauded 2005’s “Me and You and Everyone We Know,” is surely one of the most inventive indie filmmakers out there. With a solid background in performance art, her second feature, “The Future” centers its story on a naive mid-30s couple at a crossroads, but her narrative style detours in delightfully bizarre ways.

We meet the two main characters, Sophie (played by July) and Jason (Hamish Linklater, a familiar face from his television role in the sitcom “The New Adventures of Old Christine”), sitting on a couch in their small L.A. apartment glued to their laptops, unwilling to talk or even get up for a glass of water. Their life is in freeze frame. It’s even a game they play where Jason with a wave of his hand pretends to halt time. They’re a sweet and likable couple but infuriatingly passive and childlike, and July and Linklater manage to bring warmth to the offbeat humor of their deadpan and detached characters.

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They plan to adopt a sickly stray cat, Paw-Paw, from an animal shelter and the looming deadline of impending adult responsibility throws them into a panic to make up for lost time. They quit their dead-end jobs, disconnect from the Internet and pursue their desires. Sophie plans to YouTube 30 dances in 30 days in the hope of recognition while Jason volunteers for an environmental organization.

Paw-Paw, mostly seen as two puppet paws (one bandaged) is the film’s narrator (a high, scratchy voice supplied by July), and effectively provides the pathos and symbolic emotional core of the film, as he waits in a cage for his “real” life to begin.

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