The Future is a movie about time narrated by Paw Paw, a cat recovering in a shelter—or in their words “cagetorium”—waiting to be brought home for good by Sophie (Miranda July) and Jason (Hamish Linklater) away from “the darkness that is not appropriate to talk about”.
The most compelling aspects of this film (to me) are:
- Freezing time, first as an intimate game and later as a Hail Mary.
- Joe Putterlik, who plays himself and who really did make all of those cards for his wife.
- Paw Paw, the heartbreaking narrator (voiced by July), their longing to be inside and to belong to someone. The letter they write to their “persons” with no pencil, urging them to come soon as “nights are getting longer”.
- The moon (voiced by Putterlik), who is of little help to Jason in his panic, and explains that he too is fallible.
In The Future time is thirty days waiting for a broken paw to heal; a four year long relationship just “the middle of the beginning”; five years until age forty, which is basically fifty, which is basically just “loose change”; 30 Days 30 Dances, Sophie’s ambitious project; nine cards a year, one for every major holiday; being thirty five and realizing you aren’t smarter or a world leader.
There are two worlds, inside and outside, wild and not. Jason, despite walking around all day as a door to door environmental activist (selling trees), longs to continue his relationship with Sophie (inside), revitalized after finding new hope from his conversations with Joe. Sophie, who is cooped up all day trying to create YouTube worthy dance videos, ventures outside for her trysts with a slimey older man after which she confesses to Jason that she is “wild” (outside). Only once she is “outside” at the home of her new lover does she finally dance. Her body completely submerged in her beloved comfort t-shirt Shirty she stumbles and stretches, half sheet ghost/half clumsy ballerina. The dance is a touching expression of her aimlessness.
Miranda July’s The Future explores procrastination and transforms it into a catalyst for overwhelming heartbreak. And then “the beginning is over”.
Julissa Yasmeen Ramirez is a filmmaker and photographer based in NYC. Her work focuses on the themes of the erotic, queerness, and the supernatural. She is a School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC) dropout, an agency member of Scope of Work, and former roller derby athlete.