Sunday, September 16, 2012
The Future (2011 film)
Written, directed, and starring Miranda July, The Future is the story about a couple whose deteriorating relationship changes when they decide to adopt a stray cat as it would affect their life. The film explores the world of relationships and how bringing something new would change things. Also starring Hamish Linklater, David Warshofsky, and Isabella Acres. The Future for all of its quirks ends up being an overly pretentious and self-indulgent piece of shit from Miranda July.
The film is essentially about this oddball couple in Sophie (Miranda July) and Jason (Hamish Linklater) who have adopted an injured stray cat they call Paw-Paw as they wait a month for Paw-Paw to heal and come home. During the course of the month, the two try to pursue individual goals where Jason volunteers to sell trees to people as he befriends an old man (Joe Putterlik). Sophie meanwhile, is a dance teacher who is trying to pursue her own aspirations as a dancer as she meets a middle-aged man in Marshall (David Warshofsky) where they begin an affair. This would cause a rupture in the relationship as both Jason and Sophie figure out what to do.
It’s a story that could’ve been interesting but the problem is that Miranda July tries to put a lot of quirks and ideas into the story that it ends up being a movie about two very pathetic people who are so concerned with themselves and such that they lose some grasp of reality. It’s not just that Sophie and Jason are characters who are really annoying but they’re people with no real sense of direction and ambition. Sophie would try to do a project called 30 different dances in 30 different days but it never goes anywhere as she just gives up while Jason would try to go door-to-door selling trees that doesn’t go anywhere either. Adding to the narrative that ends up being an infuriating distraction is a voice-over narration from the cat (voiced by Miranda July) that ponders when it will be picked up.
It’s among the many aspects of the film that doesn’t work as July wants to create a story about loneliness and the desire to connect but the lead characters are just so unsympathetic in their quirky personas. The direction of the film is also a problem as July wanted to have the narrative shift into moments of surrealism where Jason talks to a moon in an attempt to create something that David Lynch would’ve done. Instead, it just adds to the pretentiousness of the film that also has Sophie doing her dance with her favorite pet t-shirt that ends up baffling Marshall. Then comes a moment in the third act that revolves around the fate of the cat and what happens just adds to the stupidity that the film takes leading to a very unsatisfying ending. Overall, July creates a film that is just an awful mess that never goes anywhere as well as characters that aren’t engaging.
Many of the film’s technical work such as Nikolai von Gravenitz’s cinematography, Andrew Bird’s editing, and Rainer Heesch’s sound design have their moments but don’t really do anything to the story. The costumes by Christine Wittenborn plays to the hipster world that Sophie and Jason live in as well as the art direction from production designer Elliott Hostetter, set decorator Max Juren, and art director Ruth de Jong. For the silly moments between Jason and the moon, visual effects supervisors Grant Keiner and Eliza Pelham Randall provide the look of the moon.
The only real technical highlight of the film comes from music composer Jon Brion as he creates a pretty decent score that is filled with ambient touches and melodic-driven themes to play up the quirkiness. The film’s music soundtrack from music supervisor Margaret Yen has a nice soundtrack that mixes old-school jazz with a bit of indie music that includes Sophie dancing to the music of Beach House.
The casting by Jeanne McCarthy and Nicole Abellera is incredible for the ensemble that is created but none of the actors really get a chance to stand out or do anything with their characters. Performances from Isabella Acres as Marshall’s daughter Gabriella, Joe Putterlik as the old man Jason befriends, and David Warshofsky as Marshall never really get a chance to really flesh out their characters as they just add to the eccentricity of the film. Hamish Linklater and Miranda July’s performances are just terrible because of the characters that July has created. They really have no depth as they try to do weird things and be odd as they come across as caricatures.
The Future is a horrible film from Miranda July that meanders in a tedious story with lead characters that are just annoying. For someone as unique as July is, this film serves as nothing more than a really misguided attempt to create a story that revels too much in its own quirks. Even as it starts to overwhelm its audience with its attempt to make the characters more precious as it leads to a horrific climax. In the end, Miranda July’s The Future is a film that just plainly fucking sucks.
Miranda July Films: Me and You and Everyone We Know
© thevoid99 2012