Miranda July is a bit of a crazy arts type and I love her work – or what I’ve seen of it. She does various projects from her website, http://mirandajuly.com/, her short story The Swim Team is a marvellous piece of work, and her second film, The Future, which was a selection at MIFF 2011 was great. Apart from the talking cat puppet – I didn’t really like that creepy dude. I really wanted to like this film. But I just didn’t.
There are several storylines – a couple breaking up, with the husband, Richard (John Hawkes) setting his hand on fire in a strange opening sequence. He must deal with the custody of his children in a small apartment whilst holding down a job in the shoe department of a large store. He starts a strange kind-of relationship with Christine (Miranda July) who is an aspiring nutso artist whose job is to drive elderly people to various appointments. There are also his sons and various other people involved, including couple of teenage girls who are sexually teasing and tormenting a creepy dude.
I think the main issue I had was that while the characters were connected in some way, the stories were very disjointed, and I had no real interest in what was happening or what was going to happen.
A couple in their thirties decide that their relationship is strong enough to take on a joint commitment. A cat. But this is not just any cat, this is an ill, rescue cat who is not expected to live more than six months. However, they cannot pick it up right away, but have to wait for thirty days until the cat has recovered from an operation. This delay brings on an existential dilemma do either of them want to remain in the jobs they hate, or should they spend the thirty days doing something remarkable?
The Future is a very funny film, but also very weird. The weird aspect of the movie took some of my enjoyment away – especially the creepy cat narrator. I just enjoyed the human characters so much, and I had no interest in what this cat had to say. I loved the way the two main characters made stupid or impulsive decisions that I hated, but they were passionate in some way about what they were doing. Or, if they were not immediately passionate, they became passionate.
It’s not a straight-forward normal story narrative, and there are elements of magical realism which is a literary style that I love in bits and pieces. I would recommend it to anyone who asked for an unusual comedy. Although I would not be expecting that everyone I recommend it to would actually like it.