Do you like awkward people being in love? Do you find profound meaning in the tiniest of objects, everywhere you go? Is every emotion you feel blown waaaaay out of proportion? Then you’re probably a fan of Me and You and Everyone We Know director Miranda July! Her entry to this year’s Sundance Film Festival is titled The Future, and though it’s hardly a departure from the rest of her canon of work, she has confirmed her established style, and is on her way to becoming the kind of indie auteur who will surely become a permanent fixture at Sundance. To find out why, check out the rest of the review after the jump…
- Writer/Director- Miranda July
- Starring- Miranda July, Hamish Linklater, David Warshofsky, Joe Putterlik
- Music – Jon Brion
After saving a wounded cat and deciding to adopt it, thirty-something couple Sophie and Jason (July & Linklater) realize that this decision marks a new stage in their relationships and lives. While discussing how this new responsibility will affect their lives, they realize that in their mid thirties, neither of them are satisfied with their accomplishments, and decide to use the month it will take the feline to convalesce in the shelter to enact some positive in their own lives. While pursuing their individual goals, they each encounter people who change the two lovers’ attitudes towards each other in different, challenging ways.
- Pacing – There are a lot of rhythmic elements in this film, and July’s sense of timing makes her brand of awkward comedy more pensive than uncomfortable. This deliberate sense of timing is conveyed in the film’s music, editing, and most importantly, its dialogue. Each character speaks with a different cadence. The best example of this is from the late, non-actor Joe Putterlik. The elderly man speaks as if there is no punctuation in his lines. This, combined with the softness of his voice adds a tenderness that relieves some of the uncomfortable awkwardness of the scenes which involve him. It is a style that is unique, and practically trademarked to Miranda July.
- Music – The film is scored by indie producer/rock star/composer Jon Brion, who’s definitive score is in P.T. Anderson’s Punch Drunk Love, brings a similar minimalist sensibility to this project. Soft keys mixed with digital tones highlight the especially emotional moments of the film, without showcasing themselves overtly.
- Waaah! – Miranda July makes such an enormous deal of each character’s every emotion, almost all of which are based on anxiety and fear. It’s like a Death Cab For Cutie record and a Sylvia Plath book had a baby. Being romantic and idealistic is one thing, but when it dominates a film to the point where it’s almost crippled by these big feelings, it wears on the viewer very quickly.
- Voice – There is a singular voice for all of the characters in this film: July’s. Although they are all on separate paths and journeys, they all seem to be cut from the same cloth, and the emotional tone stays the same throughout the movie. There is no growth or conclusive arch for any individual character, and it seems that the film is more focused on the journey than the destination, which works well for life, but can end up muddled when used in film.
This is a film that is crafted by an artist with a distinct and consistent style, however that style does not necessarily resonate with all audiences. It’s similar to the way that one needs to be in a certain mood to listen to certain kinds of music. Sometimes putting on a Radiohead album is just too much of a bummer, and inappropriate for a particular moment. But for fans of July’s previous work, and those who feel or seek out big emotions, then this will be a fascinating, if not always entertaining, exploration of relationships in the twilight of youth.