Perla Haney-Jardine and Amy Madigan in FUTURE WEATHER (Zak Mulligan/Lipstick Pictures)

Perla Haney-Jardine and Amy Madigan in FUTURE WEATHER (Zak Mulligan/Lipstick Pictures)

Written & Directed by Jenny Deller
Produced by Deller & Kristin Fairweather
Released by Lipstick Pictures
USA 100 min. Not rated
With Perla Haney-Jardine, Amy Madigan, Lili Taylor, Marin Ireland, William Sadler, Anubhav Jain, Jenny Dare Paulin & Michael Porter

Future Weather is a quiet film that deals with very major themes, both emotional and ecological, by combining global warming with a story of a young girl growing up in an unstable home. Perla Haney-Jardine (Kill Bill: Vol. 2) handles the main role of 13-year-old Laduree with poise and determination. Likewise, Lili Taylor, Marin Ireland, and especially the charismatic Amy Madigan also portray in-depth characters.

Lauduree and her mother live in a rundown trailer somewhere in mid-America near a nature preserve with a wide array of plants and creatures. After her mother (Ireland) runs off to California to become a make-up artist, Lauduree begins to focus more and more on her obsession with nature and environmental preservation—at least in science, she can predict the future. She knows she should contact her grandmother, Greta (Madigan), but she can’t bring herself to leave the wildlife surrounding her home. She’s also been working on a science project concerning local plants, so she decides to live on her own and avoid her prying grandmother as long as she can.

At school, Lauduree seems most happy. Though quite a loner, she enjoys her science class, where she excels. Neel (Anubhav Jain), a new student, urges her to join the science club run by her favorite teacher, and environmental activist, Ms. Markovi (Taylor). Hesitant about sharing her work, Lauduree warily begins to open up to Ms. Markovi and Neel. These friendships are potentially haltered by Greta’s discovery of her daughter’s disappearance and that Lauduree is living on her own. Greta plans to move to the warmer climate of Florida with her boyfriend, and is now forced to take Lauduree with her. Fearing the loss of her precious science project, as well as the memories of her childhood home, Lauduree refuses to move with Greta.

While Future Weather can be construed as a film with a significant ecological message, it gets lost a little in the story of Lauduree and her family, certainly the stronger of the two layers. The science club begins to make a video project about the townspeople’s views on local wildlife, deciding that if change is to be made, people need to be aware of what’s going on. This idea doesn’t get very far, as Lauduree and Neel keep to themselves, trying to save nature in their own small ways, including searching for endangered species. At the same time, Lauduree deals with being abandoned by her mother. It’s hard to balance the immediate intensity of her homelife with the slow work to reverse global warming.

Lauduree uses a cloth bag to carry her groceries, picks up trash, and refuses to take the bus to school. This attention to green living is apparent in the production as well, which tried to use natural lighting when possible, secondhand props, and composted and recycled on set. It would have been helpful to see clearer connections between Lauduree’s obsession and her family, other than using ecology as an escape, but the idea is an interesting one. Future Weather may be a typical story of one girl’s tough relationship with her wild mother, but the added focus of conservation and a curious and intelligent teen make it more compelling.