The Future was at Sundance earlier this year. This not a stamp of approval. Sometimes Sundance doesn’t choose the best films. This film had got mixed to good reviews. I almost saw it a couple times in theaters but ultimately it wasn’t a film I was dying to see. No one was praising it. I was much more interested in other films that came out of Sundance (Take Shelter, Martha Marcy May Marlene, Another Earth). The Future recently came out on DVD and I decided it was time to give it a spin. I was not prepared to have my heart broken.
I was hooked from the opening voice over over black (some people may be turned off by this voice over). The film focuses on two 30 somethings who aren’t doing very much with their lives. They spend their time surfing the web. When they decide to adopt a feral cat they realize they don’t have much time do what they want with their lives and decide to try and change that. As they try to make their lives more fulfilling they slowly begin to lose their connection, but there’s so much more to the film than this.
The Future reminded me a lot of a Charlie Kaufman film. The films is really funny. The comedy comes from the characters and isn’t forced. There a lot of heady ideas and the film can be pretty whimsical. There are multiple moments that out of context seem incredibly cheesy or lame, but within the context the film pack an incredible emotional punch. I don’t always fall head over heels in love with whimsical films. In fact, I usually have an aversion to whimsy, but when added to a universal, real, raw story (Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind) a film can be transcendant. The Future really reminded me of Eternal Sunshine. I was totally invested in the relationship Miranda July created and when things start getting weird everything became even more powerful for me.
No other film affected me as drastically as this film did this year and this really surprised me. The events in The Future are simpler than my other favorite films this year. The film is not about the the end of the world (Melancholia), sex addiction (Shame), cults (Martha Marcy May Marlene), apocalyptic storms (Take Shelter), aliens invading earth (Attack the Block). Also, there isn’t anything amazing about the cinematography or technical aspects of the film, but the film is just so powerful, profound, unique, and unlike anything I’ve seen in recent memory. For example, there were moments in Shame and Melancholia that had me on the verge of tears, but the final 40 minutes of The Future literally had me in weeping like a little child. The Future is emotionally devastating and utterly brilliant. My favorite film of the year.