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Originally published Thursday, August 25, 2011 at 3:02 PM

Movie review

'The Future:' The adventures of Sophie, Jason and a cat named Paw Paw

The movie's star-writer-director, Miranda July, plays Sophie, one half of a bored, look-alike Los Angeles couple (Hamish Linklater is her equally hapless boyfriend, Jason) who vow to take a break from their routines and explore their potential destinies.

Special to The Seattle Times

Movie review 2 stars

'The Future,' with Miranda July, Hamish Linklater, David Warshofsky. Written and directed by July. 91 minutes. Rated R for some sexual content. Harvard Exit.

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Filmmaker and performance artist Miranda July rarely draws indifferent reactions. Her unique mixture of naiveté and quirkiness annoys some people and turns others into fierce followers.

July's debut movie, "Me and You and Everyone We Know," opened the 2005 Seattle International Film Festival. A couple of months ago, she returned to SIFF with a stylistically similar second film, "The Future," that won some new converts and disappointed a few fans.

Last month, New York Times Magazine writer Katrina Onstad acknowledged the divided reactions by declaring that July's relentless sincerity is what makes her difficult for some moviegoers to handle.

"It also," she wrote, "might make her culturally essential."

That's a strong claim to make. "The Future," which returns to Seattle this weekend for a regular run, provides plenty of material for July junkies as well as July detractors.

The movie's star-writer-director plays Sophie, one half of a bored, look-alike Los Angeles couple (Hamish Linklater is her equally hapless boyfriend, Jason) who vow to take a break from their routines and explore their potential destinies.

Sophie has an affair with a suburban father (David Warshofsky) that seems both unlikely and unfulfilling. Jason signs up with an environmental organization. He also learns to stop time. Or something like that.

Their adventures are narrated by Paw Paw, a cat from an animal shelter who sounds a lot like July. This Disney-ish touch may be a deal-breaker, especially for cat lovers, who surely won't approve of the thirty-something couple's shockingly juvenile treatment of Paw Paw.

Some fans will discover evidence for a sophomore slump in "The Future." Others will feel validated by their earlier enthusiasm. If you're among the latter, you may want to add a star to that rating.

John Hartl: johnhartl@yahoo.com

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