March 12th, 2023
MOVIE: MOLLI AND MAX IN THE FUTURE
STARRING: ZOSIA MAMET, ARISTOTLE ATHARI, ERIN DARKE, ARTURO CASTRO
DIRECTED BY: MICHAEL LUKK LITWAK
AMovieGuy.com’s RATING: 3 STARS (Out of 4)
If space is the final frontier then how come we rarely see romantic science fiction films? Director Michael Lukk Litwak has given us an answer in the darling and delightful Molli and Max in the Future. Part Before Sunset trilogy and part Star Trek parody, Litwak has put together a story that spans across light years and leaves us with a smile. Molli and Max in the Future is an adorable romantic comedy and will have you thirsty for some sort of space drink called glorp.
What instantly stands out for Molli and Max in the Future is the way Litwak films his narrative. It’s set against the backdrop of CGI, which is not the highest of tech, but a throwback to how the old Tron looked. We are introduced to Molli (Zosia Mamet), who hopes to become a space wizard and Max (Aristotle Athari), a promising inventor and witty guy. They first meet each other with hints of potential romance but it’s not the right moment. As the narrative progresses it’s obvious that all we have is time. Molli and Max run into one another five years later. She’s a high level wizard and he’s a famous athlete for robot fighting. They’ve obviously changed. And they will keep bumping into one another over the course of twelve more years.
The scope of the setting in a far off future seems wide but what makes the narrative balance is how Litwak keeps his characters tightly connected. It’s not entirely a story about romance but more friendship and as we see the inevitable heights of technology expanding around them, what matters is the conversations. That’s not to say this isn’t an impressively imaginative film. There are futuristic game shows, new age forms of communication, an election with a nominee by the name of Turboschmuck (Michael Chernus in a hilarious turn), and a futuristic tennis that looks like a lot of fun. It makes the journey of this love story enjoyable, new haircuts, space suits, and changes for us to see Molli and Max growing in each new moment of time.
What’s most impressive and the major reason why things work is because Mamet and Athari are adorable together. Their chemistry is a thing of beauty and their characters truly connect. We see Max as a precocious young man, hoping to become a genius in a big galaxy, hitting a high point of celebrity, and then experiencing backlash from fans. Molli is a constant romantic, looking for the good side of others, and afraid to believe that she just might be a part of a cult. Her relationship with Walter (Arturo Castro) crashes and burns, he’s a fellow cult member who has a crab claw for a hand, and Max is there for support. The conversations never lose energy. When Molli and Max connect again, you want them to keep going in their relationship. Are there more adventures for Molli and Max to come? I certainly hope so.
It’s safe to say that Molli and Max in the Future is a big bright star. The film’s minor complaints consist of it feeling a bit redundant and the CGI can be distracting– but there is more to praise than complain about. With the chemistry of Mamet and Athari as a highlight, the real praise belongs for Litwak, who has his own unique voice and has tapped into a new kind of romantic-sci-fi-comedy. Molli and Max in the Future is a beautiful romance in a galaxy that’s not so far away.
MOLLI AND MAX IN THE FUTURE HAD IT’S PREMIERE AT THE 2023 SXSW FILM FESTIVAL. MORE RELEASE INFORMATION COMING SOON.
Written by: Leo Brady