Boy, this is going to be a tough one to describe. If you saw Miranda July’s Me And You And Everyone We Know, let alone her other art work, you can imagine her latest movie, The Future, stirs up a lot of feelings. I understand it completely, but it’s hard to describe how it affected me.
Sophie (July) and Jason (Hamish Linklater) are adopting a cat, and it strikes them that this is the beginning of a life of responsibility. So in the 30 days they have before Paw Paw (voice of July) is ready to come home from the shelter, they embark on figuring out what lives they want to live. Jason takes a door-to-door job for an environmental group and Sophie tries to upload a dance video each day, and also cancels the home WiFi.
A lot of this journey is really just about Sophie and Jason talking about their ideas. These are conversations in July’s unique voice. These characters want to achieve something with their lives. It’s not hip irony like “oh, if only we could be meaningful,” just a sensitive intelligence. And it’s weird. July’s thoughts can be artsy and abstract.
It’s well meaning for Sophie to turn off the internet as a way to refocus her attention. She also hides under a blanket because she thinks Jason wants to have the apartment to himself. He doesn’t, and it would be thoughtful if it weren’t one sided. When debating whether to tell the truth or a lie, Sophie asserts, “I could never do either of those things” and it totally makes sense if you’ve ever felt like that too.
Sophie connects with Marshall (David Warshofsky), a sign maker who drew a portrait Jason bought at the animal shelter. She operates on pure instinct. She wants a banner, but she’ll decide what it should say later. The important thing to Sophie, and probably to July, is that she explores this opportunity to have her own banner!
July breaks narrative structure like an experimental film, but never violates the narrative like a French New Wave film might. Jason can stop time. At a particularly traumatic moment, he stops time long enough to discuss it with the moon, and the rules are surprisingly different from the usual sci-fi constructs. An entire family is born and dies in the course of a conversation with Sophie, and there’s nothing unusual about that. Paw Paw speaks to the audience from her cage at the shelter.
These aren’t really spoilers, because hearing about those ideas should only make you want to see them more. The film gets sexual, metaphysical, silly and philosophical. I agree with a lot of July’s worldview, and the beliefs I may disagree with are just as fascinating to experience through her prism.