Re-view: The Future
The rap on Miranda July is wrong.
Our first look “The characters’ infantile mannerisms and outrageous, barely acknowledged self-absorption are difficult to take.”
Another view The rap on Miranda July is that she’s a faux-naïf, a creator of hermetically sealed, insufferably twee tableaux in which each character is more eccentric than the last. But what July’s detractors miss is that her naïveté is polemical, not a mere affectation. The prolific multimedia artist’s second feature film, The Future, is narrated by a cat named Paw Paw, enough to send the quirk-averse scurrying for the exits (or lunging for the pause button). But Paw Paw’s framing voiceover isn’t there to soften the blows, which come frequently and with surprising force. As the cat waits for July and her cohabiting boyfriend (Hamish Linklater) to get their acts together and retrieve it from the animal shelter, the feline’s unflinching optimism serves as a poignant counterpoint to their foot-shuffling lassitude.
Yes, The Future is another movie about thirtysomethings struggling to grow the fuck up already, but while Judd Apatow’s overgrown man-children skate by on charm, the developmental delays of July’s characters have profound, potentially fatal consequences. She understands these people, but she doesn’t make excuses. An extraordinarily productive artist—see the recently published It Chooses You (McSweeney’s, $24), an offshoot from The Future’s subplot about meeting strangers through PennySaver ads—July has described The Future as “my version of a horror movie.” Even viewers who don’t find it off-putting would have to agree. (On VOD and DVD Tue 29.)