Future Weather | Movie review
A teen takes on climate change.
Balancing emotional delicacy and symbolic overload, Jenny Deller’s first feature casts Perla Haney-Jardine as a fragile tween who channels her uncertainty about her future into an obsession with environmentalism. Science, she says, provides “an invisible reason for everything,” but it can’t explain why her single mother (Marin Ireland) takes off in the middle of the night, heading for California to pursue an ill-conceived career as a makeup artist.
The contrast between mom’s superficial vocation and her daughter’s concern with more consequential issues is typical of Future Weather’s overwritten neatness. But that quality is mitigated by Haney-Jardine’s multifaceted performance, which makes her seem less like a mouthpiece for the director’s concerns and more like a teenager trying on a cause to see if it fits—although when she’s standing in the middle of the street yelling at strangers about rising sea levels, the distinction becomes rather blurry. At times the film (set in Illinois but shot in Pennsylvania) feels like the product of an explosion at the Sundance factory: a rural setting here, a wisp of mildly quirky indie rock there. But when Deller lets her actors breathe, new life sprouts.