The One Thing You Should See This Week: Miranda July at the Canadian premiere of her new movie
This week’s pick: The Future at The Royal.
Miranda July’s new movie opens upon a black screen, with a childlike, unsteady voice—reminiscent of a Care Bear but clearly belonging to July herself—identifying itself as a recently rescued cat named Paw Paw. It’s awfully precious, and we wouldn’t blame you if you wanted to slink out of the theatre right then (you wouldn’t be the only one). But don’t.
The opening sequence of The Future is exactly what you’d expect from the princess of twee, who wrote, directed and starred in the film. The Paw Paw narrative, however, is a gateway into refreshingly mature territory for the filmmaker, whose short stories and previous film, Me and You and Everyone We Know, are better known for their unabashed whimsy.
The film focuses on Paw Paw’s human rescuers, Sophie (played by July) and Jason (Hamish Linklater) who, with their curly mops of hair and matching lanky builds, seem more like a pair of mischievous siblings than a couple. They cuddle sexlessly and play games in which they pretend to stop time, unaware that they’re actually living frozen in a stunted, overgrown childhood. When they find out that Paw Paw will be ready for adoption in 30 days, the pressure of the impending responsibility begins to unravel their relationship—time starts to thaw as they realize that they are standing on the precipice of adulthood.
The Future marks a sombre but astute artistic turn for July—like her characters, she has begun to anticipate an expiration date on her gamine quirkiness. There’s still plenty of July-brand magic and hilarity in this film: Sophie struggles with a YouTube dance project (30 dances in 30 days!), while Jason chats about the arbitrary nature of time with the moon (voiced by Joe Putterlik, an actor July met through a Pennysaver ad). But this film is a much more cerebral effort, exploring a messy relationship and the disillusions of adulthood. July’s eyes are still wide, but now they’re also wide open.
N.B.: July herself will attend Tuesday’s screening of The Future at The Royal, discussing the film with the CBC’s Patti Schmidt.
The details: Screening and Q&A with July: August 2. 7 p.m. $15–18. The Royal Cinema, 608 College St., 416-466-4400, theroyal.to. The film opens theatrically on August 5.