THE FUTURE is a film that exactly parallels the lives of its main characters – obviously intelligent and ambitious but so profoundly annoying and kooky, with a side order of quirky and off-beat, that it drowns amongst a torrent of drippy devices and contrived capriciousness.
The film is narrated intermittently by the poorly cat Paw-Paw, who is due to be adopted in a month by Sophie (Miranda July, also directing) and Josh (Hamish Linklater). Upon learning that Paw-Paw could live for years if cared for properly, the wacky couple (look, they’re pretending to stop time – those adorable fools!) decide this is equivalent to their lives ending in a month’s time when they take on this bafflingly enormous responsibility. Therefore, they set out to fulfil all their forgotten ambitions and shelved desires. They cut off the internet – he starts selling trees to stop global warming and she starts recording dance videos and dabbling with infidelity.
Underneath the talking cat (voiced by Miranda July after what sounds like a modest dose of helium), moon and cutesy dialogue, the film tries to say something about exploring ways to make the most of your life, and facing the risk of disappointment. However, any attempt to involve the audience in concepts that many folk could find relatable are eviscerated by the cat waving its paws around as if delivering Wildean wisdom rather than hazy hipster hogwash.
… concepts that many folk could find relatable are eviscerated by the cat waving its paws around as if delivering Wildean wisdom rather than hazy hipster hogwash.
Even if we accept that underneath the surface goofiness there is an interesting conceit, the numerous layers on top make it needlessly opaque and very hard to fathom as we enter the latter half of the film. What narrative that does exist is shunted aside in favour of the film’s philosophical concerns, despite the film doing nothing to earn our patience in this regard – maybe even the total opposite. THE FUTURE should be (and may still be to some) an interesting, but abstract, study of people’s inability to seize the day effectively. However, it descends into a highly self-conscious film ramping up its off-the-wall obtuseness for no demonstrable purpose.
If July’s world-view and approach chimes with you, I have to hold my hands up and say you will probably enjoy THE FUTURE. However, I’m quite glad my viewing is firmly in the past.