Every time someone used to ask me about my dream job I would answer “Miranda July’s”. That answer always followed opinions about her work but that had nothing to do with it: I don’t want it because I like her work, I like it because I would love to be an artist who occasionally directs feature films. Oddly enough, I had never watched a film of hers. People always told me it is hard to ace both mediums, either you are a good artists or a good filmmaker, rarely both. Maybe my reluctance to watch one of her films came from a place of uncertainty: she symbolized my hope of everyone being wrong, and I didn’t want to be proven otherwise.
Sadly, in this case, this is partly true.
This film is a brilliant as it is faulty. With great photography, this narrative-loose film ends up being a boy-meets-girl told in an odd Miranda July way. The main issue of the film is that it is trying to tell a story: this piece would be great if only it was poetry and not prose. There are beautiful, subtle, powerful and even funny parts of the film that take advantage of the film language to exist; snippets of poetry embed in every day life that function as metaphors of the character’s state of mind, fueled by sound, movement, images and acting.
July fails in fitting this beautiful nonsense into the box of sensical drama.
Towards the end, there is a scene in which of the characters asks another one why is he doing what he’s doing, and he says just to pass the time. The film works best when it shows scenes that don’t help the development of the story at all. I’d rather just scrap the narrative altogether: I’d rather think “oh, so this is about nothing” than to think “So, they end up together, of course”. I’d rather have an emotional poem about passing time.