The Future begins as a floppy little drama about a couple of limp-flower thirtysomethings who, cocooned in their thrift-shop-furnished L.A. apartment, dither about whether they're adult enough to adopt an ailing cat. The movie ends in a deep and extraordinary demonstration of how the world spins forward, whether we're ready or not. In between, this daring, singular project blithely risks accusations of cutesiness: The movie is framed by narration from Paw Paw, the cat in question (voiced by the movie's writer-director-star, Miranda July), with only those witty-bitty paw-paws visible.
The Future belongs to Sophie (July), who teaches dance to little kids while dreaming of sharing her own choreography with a YouTube audience, and to her boyfriend, Jason (The New Adventures of Old Christine's marvelous Hamish Linklater), who would like to grow up to be maybe, oh, a world leader but meanwhile provides tech support from his home phone. As she did in her striking 2005 debut, Me and You and Everyone We Know, July creates a fluid cinematic universe, flexible enough to embrace the artist's favorite interests; she weaves in performance art (Sophie's dances are...different) and Internet culture (the couple are glued to their laptops). And she creates perfect images of supernatural everydayness. A little girl literally digs herself into a hole. The moon speaks. In The Future, everything is possible. A–