molli and max in the future review

Molli and Max in the Future Review: A Creative and Charming Tale of Cosmic Love

Michael Lukk Litwak’s Molli and Max in the Future puts a surreal sci-fi spin on the romantic comedy. And the heartwarming results breathe fresh air into a routine formula.

In Litwak’s film, there’s a lo-fi creativity that brushes aside budgetary concerns with no small amount of charm and heart. It’s funny, touching, and not afraid to examine the torrid paths we take to get to where we need to be.

Level 7 Space Witch Molli (Zosia Marnet) ends up in a space traffic accident with wannabe robot fighter Max (Aristotle Athiras). From there prickly sparks are seen between them as they decide to hang out together. That is until Molli declares she’s got to go away to help in some great war for a Space God. Which definitely isn’t a cult by the way.

Several years go by until they meet by chance in the back of a cab, both having progressed on their dreams, but both harboring regrets. The pair keep flitting in and out of each other’s lives, never quite making that all-important connection. Over twelve years, a black hole, and a politician who’s a little too honest about his plans, we chart the everchanging lives of Molli and Max.

Credit: XYZ Films

Will they get together? Well, you’ve seen enough romcoms to know that’s not really the point. The ”Will they, won’t they” journey is why you’re here, right? But in case that’s not why, there’s some Futurama-esque space satire and silliness in there to sweeten the pot.

The backdrop for Molli and Max’s romantic saga is a vibrant cosmos. One filled with absurd characters, pastel-colored vistas, and a healthy use of miniatures that I couldn’t help but find endearing. The film eschews heavy CG for in-camera work that involves rear projection and virtual production stages. It lends the movie an immersion CG just wouldn’t be able to at this budget.

I have this very particular nostalgia itch I like to be scratched, which is for the kind of weird lo-fi creativity I saw on late-night television in the early 2000s, and while normally it’s horror where I find that, but Molli and Max in the Future really hit that spot for me from a production standpoint.

You can feel the effort and love that has gone into creating this. A cosmic tale of two people in a colossal space. The worlds (and dimensions) surrounding Molli and Max are well-realized through anecdotes and conversations. The time jumps give us little updates on how the worlds change between meet cutes too. So political revolutions occur, interspecies tensions grow and cool. All the while, Molli and Max grow and evolve as people. In that typically sloppy and awkward way that is so relatable to reality.

It’s impressive how Molli and Max in the Future sticks so rigidly to the structure of a romcom and yet doesn’t feel tired in the slightest. That’s largely down to the performances of the leads and those relatable growth moments. Yet it’s quite clear the often absurd world-building really keeps it fresh. As with horror, comedy is a really good blend with science fiction when given the right balance. Litwak applies just the right amount of melancholy and whimsy to the love story to keep things engaging.

Credit: XYZ Films

While love is the central point, the more interesting part is about how Molli and Max learn from their mistakes. It’s largely played for laughs (Molli’s involvement in what is clearly a weird magic sex cult is a running gag with a good payoff). But hurt feelings and emotional unloading often come in those key moments the pair look like they might have rekindled that initial spark.

The lesson to take from Molli and Max in the Future is that you need to love yourself before you can truly love someone else. It’s to the film’s credit that this never feels like a preachy message, just common sense. And we all know common sense and relationships are not always compatible.

If you’re hankering for a romcom that is comfortably predictable in its romance plot beats, but can surprise with its ingenuity and humor, then Molli and Max in the Future is a good bet. It’s sweet, emotional, funny, weird, and creative, and like any good relationship, those qualities matter more than any minor flaws.

Score: 8/10

As ComingSoon’s review policy explains, a score of 8 equates to ”Great”. While there are a few minor issues, this score means that the art succeeds at its goal and leaves a memorable impact.

Molli and Max in the Future will be released exclusively in US theaters on February 9, 2024. It hits VOD platforms on March 22, 2024.

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