“Future Weather," which screened this afternoon at the LRFF, is a dreamily shot, heavy-handed drama about a 13-year-old eco-activist named Laduree (stunningly played by Perla Haney-Jardine) and her incongruously tawdry guardians. When her mother (Marin Ireland) disappears to L.A. to become a “make-up artist to the stars,” she leaves Laduree $50 and instructions to call Greta (Amy Madigan), her grandmother. Instead, precocious Laduree chooses to fend for herself in their trailer in the woods, and she manages commendably – until she doesn’t. After Laduree is picked-up for stealing a fluorescent light bulb, saucy, chain-smoking Greta takes her in. But Greta has been planning a retirement move to Florida, to be with her well-heeled boyfriend. Laduree is unhinged by the prospect of leaving her science projects in the woods, the single grounding force in her life. She would also be leaving all remnants of the unpredictable but familiar home she shared with her mother and any hope of reclaiming that.
The primary motif of “Future Weather” is survival – essentially the theme of all coming of age films – but here, Laduree’s individual survival is set against the broader concepts of familial and planetary survival. The actors and the cinematography are excellent, making the film an engaging, easy watch. But the metaphors and the obtrusive symbolism – roots, lineage, new growth, fertility, catastrophe and a potential apocalypse – pervade every plot point. And even the most optimistic viewer will have a hard time recognizing Laduree – sensitive, sophisticated and resourceful – as a product of her raw and largely oblivious family.
The film screens again at 3:50 p.m. Saturday at Riverdale, and director Jenny Deller will be in attendance.