Any audience member who has seen a previous Miranda July film knows what they are in for if they go to another one. July loves silly and awkward conversations which spring out of thin air and make her characters seem quirky. If you love quirky and oddball then Miranda July is the filmmaker for you. However, July is one of those filmmakers who do not have much a gray area when it comes to reactions. Movie goers either love her or cannot stand her.
July’s latest film is The Future. Sophie (July) and Jason (Hamish Linklater) have been in a relationship for four years and live together in Los Angeles. They have steady jobs, her as a dance teacher for kids and him in the IT sector. One day, this couple makes a huge decision; they decide to adopt a cat. Yes, for this couple, this is a gigantic and tortuous decision. The cat is hurt and in a veterinary hospital so they much wait for one month before than can bring him home. Also, the cat has a speaking role. Miranda July supplies its voiceover narration. If you have seen a previous July film, this will not surprise you in the least.
Sophie and Jason now believe they have one month of freedom left. Once the cat arrives, everything will change; they will have responsibility, they will grow old, and then they will die. One month. Therefore, they quit their jobs and follow their individual quests not so much for self improvement or to follow their dreams, but to follow whatever happens to cross their path. I will stop the synopsis there so as to give away any of the more odd and yes, quirky, plot turns.
I really enjoyed July’s last film, Me and You and Everyone We Know. It was a pleasant blend of dialogue and original filmmaking. The Future is not quite as enjoyable because now I am waiting for the next awkward and quirky conversation to start. Another overarching and enjoyable element to a July film is a sense of depression and melancholy which the characters have. They are neither steadily happy nor sad, but it looks like they feel some sort of weight in their otherness. Sophie and Jason are not like a normal couple. They play silly games like pretending to stop time and agree on a song they would play if one of them lost their entire memory.
Sometimes there can be too much quirky and even for what is a simple film, July can get a bit too symbolic and the audience might miss a metaphor or three. However, some of scenes are quite amusing to watch and this film is a breath of fresh air from superhero extravaganzas and anything you find at the local 34 screen multiplex.