The Future Miranda July

The Future Miranda July
Following her out-of-left-field breakthrough, Me and You and Everyone We Know, Miranda July was transmogrified from garden-variety performance artist to indie "it" auteur, branding her a daring spokesperson for the world's eccentrics and making her synonymous with oddball self-indulgence. Six years later, July has returned with her newest feature, The Future, which eschews Me and You's ensemble style for a much more specific story about the devolution of a relationship. July is Sophie and Hamish Linklater is Jason, an indie couple in their mid-30s working comfortable, if unfulfilling, jobs and wiling away the hours together in their L.A. apartment. After deciding to adopt a cat, which they name "Paw Paw," the pair takes it upon themselves to renovate and reinvigorate their staid lives during the one-month waiting period while Paw Paw recuperates in the animal hospital. Sophie leaves her gig as a dance instructor to realize a performance piece of 30 different dances in 30 days, and Jason puts aside his tech support headset to volunteer for a tree-planting initiative. Unfortunately, as the duo become increasingly free and less reserved, Sophie explores her way into the arms of an older man. It is here that The Future changes from a unique character piece into a more fractured and abstract cautionary tale, as Jason manages to stop time in order to deflect the reality of his crumbling relationship. The time-stoppage and how July explores it will sharply divide audiences, who will either appreciate the expressionistic alternate reality she creates or lament the change of tone and the unused potential of the rich metaphor for managing the intractable pain of a relationship gone suddenly sour. While July's visual sense is sharp, and the film is anything but predictable, she may very well consider casting another actress as a lead in her future projects, as her wide-eyed, twee persona doesn't quite have the gravitas a dramatically ambitious story such as this requires. The DVD includes a fairly reserved, but interesting, commentary track from the director and a making-of documentary, both of which serve to elucidate her method and enrich the film as a whole. (Mongrel Media)