Future, The (2011)

Release date: July 29, 2011
Director: Miranda July
Screenplay by: Miranda July
Cast: Miranda July, Hamish Linklater, David Warshofsky

If I had a hyperbole quote for Miranda July’s The Future, it would be, “The depressing movie of the year.” Despite that, we are unable to feel a bit of sympathy towards these characters by the end of the movie, instead leaving — possibly — quite angry at them.

This comes as a huge disappointment after Miranda July’s 2005 success, Me and You and Everyone We Know. If you thought you’d enjoy this movie because you loved the former, you were qutite mistaken — boy are these two films polar opposites.

The Future tells the story of Sophie (July) and Jason (Linklater), a mid-30-something couple. Jason is a tech support guy who works from home while Sophie is a dance teacher who spends a little too much time watching videos on YouTube of people daring enough to dance for the world to see. Both of them thought they’d be something important by now and feel time ticking.

Sophie suggests they take the next step, deciding to adopt a dying cat. However, they are given one month before this adoption can happen, which makes them realize the best years of their lives are almost over because once you’re 40, you’re almost 50, and when you’re almost 50, there’s nothing really left.

Voiced by Miranda July herself, dying cat Paw-Paw narrates the slow story of his bleak future as Jason and Sophie get too wrapped up in their own lives to remember a promise they’ve made. Jason quits his job as a tech support guy and becomes a door-to-door tree salesman, duped into thinking he can make a difference.

Sophie, on the other hand, promises to record one original dance a day to post on YouTube. Almost haunted by her own creative block due to getting easily distracted by whatever is online, she befriends Marshall (Warshofsky) through a weird mystery call.

These characters’ lives are so unfulfilling — working in what seem to be pretty crappy jobs. Yet they live surrounded by pretty Apple products, giving them the luxury to quit their jobs and worry about the ethereal achievement of happiness. It might be too late for July to escape hipster status by now.

But I’m angry at the film. It started out organically. Young people who aren’t all that young anymore and who thought they’d be someone, or something, important. It’s all US. I thought I’d be rich by now. I thought I’d win an Oscar. We all grow up and have dreams crushed, but we don’t all quit our day jobs to sell trees. In the end, The Future is just a sad cat movie. Poor Paw-Paw paid the price of these characters with obscenely short attention spans, and I’m not even a pet person.

Is The Future a really awful film? No. It just might be one of those films you only watch one time in your life… so watch at your own risk.

Rating: ★★½☆☆ 

amy

YAM Magazine editor, photographer, blogger, translator and part-time web designer. Film junkie, music junkie… and lately series (a.k.a. TV) junkie.

7 Responses

  1. ghost says:

    there’s giant cat paws with Miranda July’s squeaky pseudo-cat voice. there’s also a weird hybrid YouTube interface – oldYouTube mixed with NewYouTube.

    Change the world, sell a tree, and make your girlfriend leave you. You have to admit there’s a certain well-capture depression in the film that makes you very angry. Maybe that’s intended. It might some people’s cup of organic tea.

    • amy says:

      @ghost, maybe the depression is intended – most likely, that’s why I said to watch it once in your life. I don’t know of anyone who would watch and re-watch it… and I like depressing stuff. From a technical standpoint, I wouldn’t… there’s nothing remarkable in it.

      I think you would really need to be in a certain mindset to fully commit with these characters… and I don’t believe anyone over 30 should be committed to them. Anyone over 30 should be too busy with their lives to commit to them. LOL

  2. Rodrigo says:

    I had no idea that July herself voiced the cat. I thought it was Melissa Rauch (Bernadette from TBBT) voicing the cat, lol.

    That said, I have mixed feelings about the film. I thought it was kinda interesting, but those characters are idiots too. And the cat was more interesting than them, lol.At times, July’s character reminded me a bit of Lena Dunham (?) without the nudity. :S

    • amy says:

      @Rodrigo, LOL it does sound like Bernadette! (Is that really her voice in real life or is it her Bernadette voice?) These areeeee very unlikable characters, so I guess that’s another comparison not to see Girls. Interestingly, Dunham also wrote Nobody Walks and she makes Thirlby another unlikable character. xD

      • Rodrigo says:

        @amy, The Dunham comparison was more in the “writes her script but doesn’t act that well” aspect.

        As for Rauch’s voice, she has a normal voice but does a different voice for Bernadette. The Halloween episode from Season 6 had an inside joke regarding her voice, though.

        • amy says:

          @Rodrigo, July’s You Me and Everyone We Know is actually quite good. I don’t think she’s that bad. She’s just ultra unlikable here.

  1. October 28, 2013

    […] line of whimsical character quirks and sad drama that Miranda July was incapable of balancing in The Future — though it does help that Aoi Miyazaki is ten times the more experienced actress that July […]

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