The Future Review

It’s a cat’s life.

Which is almost a very overused not to mention outdated cliché, but this particular cat’s existence certainly puts its arch nemesis travails in perspective.

The Future is an incredibly narcissistic piece of work from the mind of Miranda July, who both directs and stars in this.

Narrated by a cat, Paw Paw, it’s a story of two lost and desperate people who cling to each other more out of desperation of not being alone for more than three minutes than anything approaching love.

Sophie is a supposed dancer with precious little talent in actual dancing, of course that doesn’t stop her from acting incredibly self important and precious about her desire and need to be watched.

Jason is a lost soul who wants to do something meaningful with his time, yet doesn’t seem to know how he should or even could achieve this.

In an effort to take the edge off their increasingly meaningless lives, they decide to adopt a beautiful wild cat who’s had an unfortunate accident with one of her paws.

Hence her name.

Paw Paw is so happy to belong to someone, she even makes involuntary cat noises when her two new friends are around that mean she belongs to them.

But Paw Paw needs to stay at a vet’s for a month until her actual paw heals up, which brings about a dawning realisation on the unhappy couple; they only have one month left to achieve whatever it is they want to with their own lives before having responsibility for another life thrust upon them.

Even if that is only a cat’s.

The Future starts off promisingly, raising my hopes that this might be another of those funny and insightful indie gems that reveal something about the human condition.

Or at least draw you into their idiosyncratic little cocoon long enough to forget your own world for an hour or so.

Unfortunately, this isn’t the case; mostly because the two protagonists are so thoroughly unlikable.

I suppose we’re meant to feel sympathetic towards Jason, played by Hamish Linklater, if only because he has slightly more redeemable qualities than his vain girlfriend Sophie, who July cast as herself.

But it’s really difficult to feel sympathy towards a thirty something man-child who still hasn’t worked out what he wants to do with his life.

And as much as I disliked Sophie’s self-indulgent behaviour, at least she’s actually doing something.

Even if that something involves dancing terribly, being jealous of her boyfriend because she thinks he’s happier or more productive than her and cheating on him with a man old enough to be her father.

Which leaves us with Paw Paw, also voiced by July, as the consistent bright spot of The Future; bringing both laughter and smiles through her cat observations of their world?

Of course, with owners like hers, the future doesn’t look good for Paw Paw.

And I’d say the same is true of this film.

Jonathan Campbell

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November 2011
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