Is it possible to be addicted to science? Lauduree (Perla Haney-Jardine), of Jenny Deller's Future Weather, would have to say yes. It's a story we've seen in the likes of Little Birds, and Hick: bored teenage girls victim of small towns and poor parenting succumb to vice. For the former it's boys and glamour, but not for Lauduree. Amidst her disappearing Mother (Marin Ireland) and beer-slingin' Grandma (Amy Madigan), rises a learned gal with a passion for fighting pollution. Forget drugs and sex, when Lauduree loses it she plays the righteous environmentalist. Who says a beautiful flower can't bloom in a muddy swamp?
Zak Mulligan's cinematography carries the film, as he captures the sublime afternoon sunshine in a way that illuminates both Lauduree's lonely hours, as well as the beauty of nature that she can't help but thrive in. The sound department rides masterfully on a similar phenomenon, as the chirping of crickets outside rest against the desolate silence inside.
This sleepy feel seems to take frost over the film. While she effectively displays her passion for global warming, as well as the hum-drum melancholia of pre-teen life, it feels as though Haney-Jardine falls slightly flat in contrast with the glowing scenery that surrounds her. In order for science to truly take hold on viewers, we need an actor that can sell it for us. 80's lady Lili Taylor (Mystic Pizza, Say Anything, High Fidelity), shines as her science teacher and friend Ms. Markovi, and we wish she appears more often.
Lauduree is clearly the odd duck amongst her bombshell Mom , and simpleton Grandma, but we still don't quite buy the relationships. Yet endearing moments where she applies makeup and sports her mother's heels with large brown socks prove to be the convincing choices Deller makes which emphasize the effect that mothers have on their daughters.
Despite stretches where we wish a tumbleweed would pass through and cause some trouble, Deller significantly reminds us that the role of mother can take many different forms; maternal wisdom here is found in a daughter. She teaches us that value can be created in the midst of misfortune. Would Lauduree be as passionate about climate change had her mother been around? This is a question left for viewers.
Photo via FilmSchoolRejects.com