No Future is one of the more interesting dramas on the 2021 Tribeca Film slate. Led by a trio of great performances from Charlie Heaton, Catherine Keener, and Rosa Salazar, writer/director duo Andrew Irvine and Mark Smoot craft a film that tackles addiction, grief, and relapse. While the simplistic script takes few chances on straying from the expected, No Future is most effective at showcasing nuanced acting and character drama.
Will (Heaton) is an addict in rehab, and he has met a special someone that he’s “starting to feel like he can see a future with.” When an old buddy, Chris (Jefferson White) shows up unexpectedly on the night this new girl Becca (Salazar) is supposed to come over, Will unceremoniously kicks him to the curb. The next day, Will receives a call: Chris has passed away from a tragic overdose. Carrying the guilt about blowing off his estranged friend, Will becomes entangled in a secret passionate affair with Chris’ mother Claire (Keener) in their shared trauma.
I loved the idea of seeing Will get together with the much older Claire, despite having a girlfriend around his same age that he proclaims is “the only thing keeping him sober.” Keener looks just as beautiful as ever, and it just proves that age is irrelevant. Their connection is an extension of the one they both have with Chris.
It is clear the others they try to turn to don’t comprehend the loss. Chris’ father says “what did he do now?” when Claire approaches him about the death. Becca tries to get Will to open up, but their relationship is so new and sensitive. Still tiptoeing around the difficulties of his sobriety, Will is having a difficult time letting Becca see all of his layers. Initially reluctant to hookup, Will and Claire are drawn together like the two opposite sides of a magnet. Their fling could be toxic, or it could be what they both need.
I would hesitate to call this a fun or uplifting movie, with the jet-black darkness of its narrative going to the bleakest depths. Ultimately, No Future does follow very similar directions as many other drug addiction dramas. The addition of an unconventional love triangle and the strengths of Catherine Keener, Charlie Heaton, and Rosa Salazar make it worthy of your time.
No Future screened at the 2021 Tribeca Film Festival on June 13th.