Filmmakers who do other things than direct movies fascinate me. In a day and age of accessibility, that’s most directors, but I think that directors who write books, create podcasts, create art or music, and things like that are just extremely interesting. To me it signifies an artist who can never get enough from just one art form. That’s something that I respect and can relate to quite a bit.
Miranda July is a performance artist, probably most known for her film, Me and You and Everyone We Know. It’s a fantastic film, and I recommend it to anyone and everyone. July is quite the outside-of-the-box thinker, analyzing everything, and really giving life meaning in her own quirky way. She’s also written numerous books on different subjects, but she really seems like a person who wants to be heard. Heard through her writing, and through her films, her music, and especially through her speaking engagements. Miranda July is an artist, but an unconventional one. She’s not an artist who gives us something to look at and tells us to interpret it. No, she gives us a situation or a character or a setting and allows us to sometimes fill in the blanks, or infer what we want. She allows art to be subjective, never definite.
Her new film, The Future, is quite cerebral and artistic, but not just for the sake of being cerebral and artistic. The film, much like July herself, is an observation on life told through the perspective of a rapidly aging couple named Sophie (Miranda July) and Jason (Hamish Linklater). Both around 35, they feel as if they haven’t done enough with their lives. They decide to adopt a cat, and have one month until they’re allowed to take it home. They feel like that month is their last month free of any life changing responsibility, so they plan to live as much as they can.
They both quit their jobs in an attempt to find work that is more beneficial to the world, and not only themselves. Jason begins going door to door trying to sell people trees to help the environment, while Sophie stays home and takes a stab at uploading dances to the internet with the hopes of getting a lot of views.
Earlier in the film, while Jason and Sophie were filling out adoption forms for their new cat, Paw-Paw, Jason purchases a sketch from a man named Marshall (David Warshofsky), a seemingly well-meaning and struggling artist who owns a company that creates banners for businesses. On the back of the picture is his phone number, which Sophie accidentally sees when the picture’s tape fails and it falls to the ground. Their chance encounter quickly turns into an affair.
It’s around this point where the film takes a turn for the odd and strangely beautiful. Jason befriends an older man named Joe (Joe Putterlik), who gives Jason quite a bit of much needed advice about the future of his relationship with Sophie. The character of Joe is only present in about two scenes of the film, but it’s one of the more important characters in the picture as a whole.
The Future is a strange love story about two people just trying to figure out the world. To them, 35 is old, but to people like Joe, 35 is just the beginning, which is the question the film poses. When is young, when is old, and when do we know the difference? Do we ever reach a certain age where anything is too late, or are we just too discouraged to do the things we really want?
At around 90 minutes, the film is short but not brief, smart without being cocky, and thoughtful without being preachy to the audience. The characters in the film are just as helpless as the viewer, which in a way comforted me. It gave me the notion that I was on the same exact journey that our characters were. Helplessness is much more interesting when viewed from the perspective of somebody else.