Sundance 2011 Review: THE FUTURE


It's hard to review a movie that most people haven't seen yet, but it's even harder to review a movie that I despise that meets that criteria. The Future is unquestionably my least favorite film of the festival, and unless you're really into super dramatic stories with little emotional payoff, weird time shifts, and a general lack of interesting qualities, I'd say stay far away from this movie.

Written and directed by Miranda July, The Future follows Jason and Sophie, a nice young couple happily married for four years. When their cat Paw-Paw has surgery on its leg and has to stay in the vet hospital for a month, the couple decides to take full advantage of their cat-free time and both immediately quit their jobs to pursue their dreams. Trouble is, they don't have any dreams and the movie just becomes them wandering around not knowing what to do with their self-imposed ticking clock scenario. They're terrible hipsters with no personality or compelling characteristics, and neither one of them is likeable in any way after the first three minutes of the film. Affairs are had, elderly mystics get involved, the moon talks to Jason, and a little girl is buried up to her neck in a backyard. Oh, and did I mention this is all set in modern day Los Angeles?

What pissed me off more than the masturbatory filmmaking style was the fact that - and I'm not kidding when I say this - the cat is the narrator of the movie. It addresses the audience directly, speaking English in a voice that sounds possessed, like Brittany Murphy in Don't Say A Word mixed with Jennifer Tilly after a twenty year smoking binge. The cat is also shown from the legs down as it narrates throughout the movie from what is supposed to be a convincing angle, but it's an angle that reveals all too clearly that these shots actually consist of a person dressed in an over-sized cat costume acting like a cat. It's embarrassing to watch.

A scene near the end in which a yellow T-shirt crawls down the street (of its own accord) and climbs into Sophie's window, followed by her climbing inside it and doing an extended dance inside the confines of the stretched shirt was almost enough to make me leave the theater (I just didn't have any other movies to see until an hour later, so I stuck it out). The movie was a merciful 91 minutes long, but I was silently screaming for it to end long before that. This has got to be one of the most "indie" - and I don't use that term nicely here - projects at Sundance 2011, and I'll be lucky if I can dodge any other movies that even remotely resembles this one.

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