The Future (15)

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The ViewLondon Review

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Review byMatthew Turner04/11/2011

Three out of Five stars
Running time: 86 mins

The Future may be a little too self-consciously quirky for some tastes and there are some definite misfires, but if you can get past the talking cat, this is a sharply written, bitter-sweet and frequently funny comedy-drama with strong performances from the two leads and some thought-provoking observations on relationships.

What's it all about?
Written and directed by multimedia artist Miranda July (Me, You and Everyone We Know), The Future stars July and Hamish Linklater as Sophie and Jason, a quirky couple who are both 35 years old. When they decide to adopt an injured cat named Paw-Paw (who, voiced by July, narrates the film in an irritating baby-voice), they suddenly realise that this is essentially the settling-down period in their five year relationship so they resolve to quit their jobs and make the most of the month before Paw-paw comes to live with them after his surgery.

At first things go well: tech-support worker Jason volunteers for an environmental agency, while children's dance teacher Sophie begins making videos of herself dancing and streaming them online. However, things take a different turn when Sophie begins an affair with middle-aged single father Marshall (David Warshofsky), whose daughter drew a portrait that Jason bought at the cat shelter.

The Good
July and Linklater are both superb as Sophie and Jason, a sweetly quirky couple who are so perfectly in sync that they even look like each other a little bit. There's also strong support from Warshofsky and from Joe Putterlik as an old man who befriends Jason and attempts to reassure him about the future.

The self-consciously dialogue is frequently funny and the central idea (being hyper-aware of the relationship implications of adopting a cat) is both thought-provoking and amusing. July also chooses to leave Sophie's actions unexplained (the affair begins because she randomly calls the number on the portrait), which allows the audience to fill in the gaps for themselves: is she just bored or is she having an affair in order to do or feel something extreme before she settles down?

The Bad
Unfortunately, the film is less successful in the second half where it drifts into magical realism as Jason attempts (partially successfully) to stop time. At that point the film meanders around and becomes increasingly frustrating – the pacing drags and the story seems to lose both focus and direction, though the ending at least provides a suitable pay-off as a consequence.

Worth seeing?
The Future isn't without flaws and won't appeal to everyone, but it's ultimately worth watching, not least because it's unlike any other relationship film you'll see this year. The talking cat really doesn't work though.

Film Trailer

The Future (15)
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Content updated: 18/08/2018 10:57

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