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The Future

The Future: Surreal Drama about Existential Crises

  • David WarshofskyHamish Linklater...
  • Drama
  • Out now
  • Miranda July
reviewed by
Yasmin Shehab
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The Future: Surreal Drama about Existential Crises

Sophie (July) and Jason (Linklater) are in a bit of a rut. They
spontaneously decide to adopt a cat, PawPaw, but due to it
s medical
problems, they have to wait a month before they can take it home. The
commitment they’re about to make throws the state of their life into sharp
relief, and the fact that their lives are not what they wanted them to be hits
them hard. Going through an early midlife crisis, they both quit their dead-end
jobs and decide to use the month to do whatever they want and figure out what
they want from their lives before PawPaw’s arrival ties them down.

The Future is
an odd film. It revolves around existential crises where the protagonists are
suddenly hit by the fact that they’re not getting any younger and that the
years they have ahead of them are soon going to be less than the ones
they’ve already lived. So in a way, the film deals with mortality.

voiced by July, acts as a sort of narrator, except instead of narrating the
main story arc of Sophie and Jason, PawPaw counts down the seconds until his
new owners come to get him, waiting for his new life, and all the dreams that
come with it. PawPaw’s arc mirrors Sophie and Jason’s in that they’re all
consumed by this feeling of emptiness, waiting for something to shake up their
lives and make them happy.

When Sophie’s plan to do a 30-dances-in-30-days project fizzles, she has an affair with a guy who is completely different from Jason. Marshall
(Warshofsky) has his own business, lives in a big fancy house and seemingly has
his life all figured out. With Marshall, she discovers a new aspect of herself
that the old her would have considered a failure; she finds out that she
doesn’t mind being a kept woman.

On the other hand, Jason meets an old man, Joe (Putterlik) through an ad
for an old hairdryer, and despite being weirded out by the guy’s very direct
selling technique and by his ability to talk endlessly, he gains the benefit of
perspective from him. Joe’s casual insistence that Jason still has time to do
something with his life and that his four-year relationship with Sophie is
still in its infancy, no matter how used to each other they are, brings some
optimism into his life. 

The film completely bends the rules of time to further explore how the
characters are feeling, getting quite metaphoric and surreal with its imagery. As
the writer, director and actor, July does a fantastic job in merging all of these odd
bits and pieces such as the talking cat, frozen time and conversations with the
moon, making a film that is so evocative of a mood and state of being.

And one
of the reasons that make The Future so successful is Sophie and Jason’s
lived-in relationship. They really are partners, like two parts of one being,
and their comfort with each other lends credibility to the internal crisis
they’re both going through.   

This film is recommended for anyone who’s ever questioned the point of
life or been baffled by the fact that time doesn’t wait for the eternally
confused to make up their minds. 

Like This? Try

Me and You and Everyone We Know, The Darjeeling Limited, Greenberg

360 Tip

PawPaw’s character was inspired by a stray cat that July buried after it got hit by a car in front of her.

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