After a six-year hiatus since directing a feature film, Miranda July—whose previous film, the brilliant Me and You and Everyone We Know (2005)—returns with another idiosyncratic romantic drama, The Future. July again stars, writes, and directs.
The Future is another fantastical story in which fans of July’s other work (whether it be as a performance artist, author, or actress) will immediately recognize July’s signature trademarks; the film was much-discussed among audiences and journalists alike at this year’s Sundance Film Festival. Incorporating many of the same themes as her previous film, July again finds quirks in human interactions including insecurities, another unstable young woman, blending pop music into scenes effortlessly (the use of “Master of None” by Beach House is outstanding), and magical moments depicting people searching for meaning in life.
July portrays Sophie, who lives with her boyfriend Jason (Hamish Linklater). They have been together for a few years. When they decide to adopt a cat named Paw-Paw (who narrates her own story), the two are told they can pick up Paw-Paw in 30 days. Knowing the ill Paw-Paw may only have a few months to live, or perhaps up to five years if he is given the best care, both Sophie and Jason quit their jobs and give up the Internet; neither of them know what to expect once they take home Paw-Paw.
As the time of Paw-Paw’s arrival approaches, both Sophie and Jason are starting to pursue other interests and slowly become disconnected from one another. Jason waits for a sign on what to do next, while Sophie doesn’t know what to do after she can’t finish her dance-a-day project. When Sophie meets older man, Marshall (a sly and scary David Warshofsky), through strange circumstances no less, she becomes a different person around him and begins to wonder if she wants to start a new life with him and his daughter or go back to Jason. It isn’t until time is frozen (literally) when we start to understand what “the future” holds for Sophie, Jason, and Paw-Paw; through her narrative, July makes us wonder how different we really are when no one is around, how we connect with someone outside of our comfort zone, and whether once you let go of someone you can really go back to him or her.
July stopped in Minneapolis last month for the Minnesota premiere of The Future at the Walker Art Center; The Future opens this Friday at the Lagoon Cinema. Meeting with July for a second time in six months (we had an interview at Sundance, which was conducted in roundtable style) we sat outside at a café. We talked for a few minutes before the interview started about all the white fuzzys that were floating in the air and flying into our faces. We both laughed at all the surrounding noises from planes flying over our heads, street sweepers cruising by, and other customers laughing and talking loudly.
The first question I asked July was, did she find it easier to start working on her second film than on her first?
Click the play button below to hear the interview.