Friday, August 12, 2011

The Future

My favorite films are those that tackle the intangible themes of life and death and love and sadness, and this film by writer/director Miranda July falls in that category.  Or at least it tries.

This is a hard film to describe.  On the surface it deals with a couple in their mid 30's struggling with their place in the world.  They're lost, like many of us.  It begins quirky and then just gets plain strange, playing with time, and sprinkled throughout with narration by a cat.  (Yes, you read that line correctly, the voiceover is from a cat.)  It is alternately humorous, bizarre, and pensive.

Film buffs know July from her debut feature in 2005, 'Me And You and Everyone Else'.  That film worked for me (and maybe even you if you're reading this, but possibly not everyone else).  It was different and pretty out there;  Deep and quirky at the same time.  The characters were all equally fascinating.  Unfortunately in my opinion 'The Future's not quite as good.  But fans of her will surely not want to miss it.

July was actually at my screening and introduced the film and participated in a lengthy Q&A afterward.  And having experienced that, it is now very clear that this is her movie and it is very close to her.  I can say that how I feel about her as a person is pretty close to how I feel about her movie as well.  They're both endearing, honest, thoughtful, deep, bizarre, and somewhat unintelligible.  I believe the movie has deep meaning but you have to work for it to get it.  And I'm always happy to do that, but I'm also even happier when I feel fully satisfied after doing so, at least on an emotional level.  I can't say that I do here.  I'm sure it's very personal to her, but just not fully satisfying to me, although I look forward to seeing what she does in her 'future'.

Whether or not you will appreciate this movie really depends on if you like art films sprinkled with absurdities and deeper meaning, and whether you're willing to work for an understanding of it.

Grade: B