Film Review: “The Future”

The writer/director/star is enchanted with herself. I hated the cat.

Everyone in America, especially those uber-arbitrators of culture, The New York Times, is in love with Miranda July – except me. I read Katrina Onstad’s worshipful, non-objective profile, “Miranda July Is Totally Not Kidding”, recently published in The New York Times Magazine (July 14, 2011). It reads like a very long press release. http://www.nytimes.com/2011/07/17/magazine/the-make-believer.html?pagewanted=1&_r=1

July’s “I Love Me” ode, THE FUTURE, is paralyzing torture. July wrote, directed and stars in this, her second feature film. July’s wrote, directed and starred in her first feature film, ME AND YOU AND EVERYONE WE KNOW (2005).

Here is the problem with writing, directing and starring in a film: There is no objectivity! In THE FUTURE, every man that gazes at Sophie (July) falls madly – “I found my soul mate!” – in love with her. Why?

I just did not see Sophie’s appeal. Neither will you.

Sophie’s boyfriend of four years, Jason (Hamish Linklater), is her visual twin. Coincidence or intentional? They have made a daring commitment in their lives – they are going to adopt a cat, Paw-Paw (voiced by guess who?). Paw-Paw is too sick to take home from the animal hospital so they have to wait 30 days and this instigates an existential crisis. What is Paw-Paw only has 30 days to live? What if they only have 30 days to live?

Both Sophie and Jason speak in a droll, emotionless cadence for the entire running time of 1 hour 31 minutes. Actually, they speak like FLDS hostage-members.

With only 30 days to live, Jason quits his at-home tech job and Sophie quits her job teaching children to dance. This does not stop Sophie from doing YouTude experimental dances for her friends. Her plan is to do 30 dances in 30 days.

Sophie has an adult “security blanket”. It’s a T-shirt that comes alive.

Did I mention that Paw-Paw talks to the audience and the Moon gives Jason love advice?

I will give July this – the only time I see real looking human beings in movies is in foreign films. (I recently watched THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO again. The U.S. Hollywood version chose sex magnet Daniel Craig to play Mikael Blomkvist. The original Blomkvist, Michael Nyqvist, has a pot-marked face, bags under his eyes, a double chin, and a gone-to-seed body. Noomi Rapace, who played the iconic Lisbeth Salander in The Millennium Trilogy, had a cinematographer who drenched her in harsh light. Let’s hope director Guy Ritchie – not known for being generous to his female stars – gives Rapace a Hollywood makeover in her U.S. debut, SHERLOCK HOLMES: A GAME OF SHADOWS (2011).

July keeps the camera lovingly on her huge eyes. She fearlessly displays her anorexic body. It does not look like July is a trained dancer or works out. We do see many shots of her best asset.

For no logical reason, except to hurt Jason, Sophie begins an affair with creepy Marshall (David Warshofsky), who immediately falls in love with her. Not to be outdone, Jason has his own inexplicable, secretive relationship with an old man he met through a Pennysaver ad.

When Sophie cruelly tells Jason about her affair, he freezes time and asks, not the Burning Bush, but the Moon for counsel.

I doubt THE FUTURE will be sent around to director’s as an audition piece but with the glowing press July has garnered, and a modest film budget for self-glorification, we’ll be seeing more of her “quirky” take on her life.

Member of Broadcast Film Critics Association: www.bfca.org/
Member of the Las Vegas Film Critics Society: www.lvfcs.org/
My weekly column, “The Devil’s Hammer,” is posted every Monday. http://www.fromthebalcony.com/editorials.php.
If you would like to be included on my private distribution list for a weekly preview, just email me at masauu@aol.com.
Victoria Alexander lives in Las Vegas, Nevada and answers every email. You can contact Victoria directly at masauu@aol.com.

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