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Hamish Linklater
Miranda July.
Miranda July.
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The Future
Miranda July and No-One Else You Know

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Lookalike couple Sophie (July) and Jason (Linklater) have a relationship crisis when they realise they have 30 days until they are due to adopt a stray cat named Paw-Paw. Venturing out into the world to enjoy their last month of absolute freedom, they each encounter someone who will change their lives more profoundly than the presence of a mere cat.

The Future
If words like 'quirky', ‘offbeat’ and ‘mumblecore’ send you scurrying for the hills, start lacing your hiking boots. It’s been six years since Miranda July beguiled us with her Camera D’Or-winning debut Me And You And Everyone We Know, in which the writer-director bravely, and winningly, cast herself at the centre of a delicate love story, surrounded by a series of perfectly realised studies of human nature — the kind Todd Solondz might make if he wasn’t such an inveterate misanthrope. With The Future, her second film, July proves her lightning-in-a-bottle act was no fluke.

When we first meet Sophie (July) and Jason (Hamish Linklater), they are playing a game in which Jason pretends he can literally stop time: Sophie plays along, and they both freeze in complete stasis, keeping up the pretense until one of them breaks the spell. It’s a metaphor for the way time seems to have stopped for both of them: stuck in a rut so deep they are too apathetic to get the iPod charger, much less quit their jobs, or even each other, and explore the world beyond their existential paralysis. The impending arrival of Paw-Paw — who, in one of the film’s more fanciful interludes, delivers soliloquies voiced by July herself — is the inciting incident that puts a blip in the status quo, sending Sophie and Jason on diverging journeys of self-discovery.

While these are relatively uneventful on the scale of traditional odysseys— highlights include the purchase of a second-hand hairdryer, a bid to upload a series of quirky dances to YouTube, and an attempt to sell trees door-to-door — they represent huge changes for Sophie and Jason, offering experiences either random or synchronicitous, depending on your point of view.

As with her first film, July finds new things to say about human foibles, spoken in a fresh and distinctive voice (and many a memorable quote). This time, however, her observations and insights — sometimes petty, occasionally profound — are shot through with an icy shard of painful melancholia, particularly in the last 30 minutes, when the whimsy of the set-up gives way to a sucker punch of genuine feeling and truth.

July’s second film, while not quite as perfectly realised as her debut, nimbly avoids the ‘sophomore slump’, providing the curious with another window into her highly idiosyncratic world.

Reviewed by David Hughes

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RE: Pretentious and boring!

I loved Miranda July's last film You and Everyone We Knowm looking forward to this. I get a bit tired of people throwing the word "pretentious' around on forums in a way that is meaningless and just indicates "I didn't like this". I found her last film nothing but sincere and heartfelt, presenting a very particular world view, you are either attuned to or not. Also, I just adopted a cat, so I think I can relate. ... More

Posted by Herr Schnitzel at 16:36, 12 November 2011 | Report This Post

Pretentious and boring!

I have total faith in Empire reviews, and make most of my viewing decisions using them as a guide. I went to see this film last night as it had a four star review but I would not recommend it to my worst enemy! It felt twice the length of the running time, the acting was atrocious and it was in danger of disappearing up its own arse at any of the numerous painful moments. The whole film had the feel of a student movie with a studio funded sheen. However, as the saying goes, you can't polish a t... More

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Posted by purpleryan at 14:14, 10 November 2011 | Report This Post

RE: The Future

Great movie and nice article. ... More

Posted by krisstewart at 10:02, 07 November 2011 | Report This Post

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