The Future

Writer-director-star Miranda July’s follow-up to Me and You and Everyone We Know is another precious, peculiar, cunningly mundane arthouse bauble — a movie whose abstractions will undeniably baffle certain viewers while also eliciting smiles of bemused engagement from its intended specialty audience target.

Forced to wait 30 days before adopting a terminally ill cat, Paw Paw (who provides occasional narration to the proceedings, in a high-pitched, plaintive voice), live-in Silverlake sweethearts Sophie (July, above left) and Jason (Hamish Linklater, above right) find themselves suddenly overcome by all they haven't accomplished in life. In preparation for their new pet, they quit the jobs they hate, but as the month slips by Sophie finds herself paralyzed by fear, and unable to complete the dance-a-day YouTube video project she so wanted to do. So she throws herself into an affair with a middle-aged man (David Warshofsky) who makes promotional signs for a living, while Jason gives door-to-door environmentalism a spin. When Jason is on the precipice of learning of Sophie's infidelity, he tries to literally stop time, in order to prevent change.

Seeded in equal measure with playfulness and poignancy, The Future is a reflection on the accumulated burdens of generational anxiety, as filtered through a quasi-Dadaist, quasi-Absurdist sensibility. It's about the panic of time becoming an active antagonist in one's life, and how a seemingly well-matched couple reacts to that in different ways. Precocious and decidedly not always literal, the film requires a more active viewing experience than your typical indie dramedy; July wants to provoke parallel trains of thought as much as tell a simple story with these characters. Her efforts are never less than absorbing, however. And in a nod to the imponderables of its title, The Future of course doesn't end in neatly packaged fashion, but rather the possibility of both heartache and uplift. (Roadside Attractions, R, 91 minutes)


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