The Future: Miranda July's Sophomore Slump

After all the acclaim for her 2005 debut feature, Me and You and Everyone We Know, Miranda July's follow-up has taken six long years to arrive. The life parallels in The Future are impossible to ignore as July again plays an artist—well, a children's dance instructor—who's seriously blocked about her next creative project. Living with her supportive but undermotivated boyfriend in a threadbare L.A. apartment, Sophie is aware she can't be a slacker through the rest of her 30s. Either create or get off the pot. Yet her YouTube dance project ("30 Dances in 30 Days") is just as stalled as everything else in their lives. She and Jason (Hamish Linklater) can hardly even commit to foster-parenting a cat waiting for them at the vet's. In July's high, mewing voice, the cat speaks to us of darkness and despair. Much later, as the sitcom slides into a magical fable, the moon also will express its thoughts on Sophie and Jason's fraying relationship (they both stray, though in different ways). So what does The Future hold for Sophie? July shows us two scenarios in a kind of parallel-lives projection for her heroine: failure in bohemia and mediocrity in the 'burbs. Unfortunately, the film completely fails on both levels. Me and You was expansive, curious, generous; The Future just collapses under the weight of its introspective gravity.

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