SXSW Feature: The Future dir. Miranda July

by Michaela Olsen

Hopefully by now you’ve seen Miranda July’s first feature Me and You and Everyone We Know, a film that managed to make, “pooping back and forth, forever”—aka ))<>((—the sweetest thing you’ve ever heard. Her second feature, The Future is consistent with July’s quirky sense of humor and flawless filmmaking, but rather than serving us a sampling of interconnected subplots, as she did in her debut, this time she provides us with a magnified look at one modern couple’s relationship in turmoil.

The decision to adopt a cat and the looming, intrinsic responsibility that comes with it sends Sophie (Miranda July) and Jason (Hamish Linklater) into a 30-day race to find meaning in their lives.  Sophie and Jason are in the vein of July’s usual characters: understated, relatable, and sad, but charming…like lost puppies. Her choice to hone in on these two fragile characters at this juncture in their lives results in a powerful film about the intricate conflict between human nature and love. Once again, you’ll be taken by July’s ability to involve the audience emotionally without any of the hackneyed tricks you find in most romantic comedies.

Periodically throughout the film, July treats us to surrealistic elements that are simultaneously giggle-worthy and intensely emotional, such as Jason’s time-freezing abilities, an animated and very sneaky t-shirt, and a talking cat. This stretch of the imagination allows us to delve deep into the hearts of the characters. Paw Paw, a cat portrayed by a set of puppet paws and voiced by July, intermittently narrates the film. The character of Paw Paw is SO HEARTBREAKING that you just might faint… but try your damndest not to because The Future is a beautiful film from start to finish.

P.S. The score for this film was composed by Jon Brion, composer for Punch Drunk Love, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, and Magnolia and producer for Fiona Apple, Rufus Wainwright, and Kanye West. Brion is also a singer-songwriter. He’s just fantastic!

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