By Leslie C. Halpern
Contrived quirkiness is the main ingredient in this love story about two dysfunctional hoarders: one prepares for a future world disaster and the other hangs onto everything from the past (and then some).
Ed Hemsler (John Lithgow) is an aging, divorced retiree who blogs about doomsday conspiracies on the internet. His son (Derek Cecil) considers his father to be a paranoid ass—a highly annoying paranoid ass who can’t stop blabbing about an impending disaster for which we should all prepare.
Isolated and Lonely
One day, Ed sees an attractive woman in his age range at the grocery store where he buys his bomb shelter supplies. Despite his isolation and awkwardness, he strikes up a conversation with Ronnie (Blythe Danner) and the two misfits spark an attraction. Ronnie is loaded with quirks—simultaneously shy and outspoken, a bad dresser but stylish in her own way. We soon learn that Ronnie’s only child died as a youngster, and she holds onto memories and physical items as a means of finding connection to something.
During their sweet, but rocky, relationship, the two learn secrets about each other. Old habits die hard, especially among the well-over 60 crowd. Both need to make adjustments to fit into society a little better, and more importantly, maintain their newfound relationship.
Too Many Quirks
Sometimes it feels like the script tries too hard for cute comments, offbeat humor, and general quirkiness. For instance, Ed has an absurd passion for ball bearings, geeky Ronnie works at a very hip gift shop, and Ronnie’s 20-something boss (Eve Harlow) dishes out advice on sex, love, and dating to her much-older employee as if she were a child. When Ronnie sings “Muskat Love” (Ed’s favorite song) on the car radio, he screeches the car to a halt and bolts out the door because it’s all just too perfect.
Although acting and production values are solid, the shaky script provides an interesting story that suffers slightly in the implementation. A few less quirks and a little more authenticity would have helped The Tomorrow Man see a brighter future.
The Tomorrow Man
A man obsessed with the future and a woman stuck in the past find love in a small town.
- Stars: John Lithgow, Blythe Danner, Derek Cecil, Katie Aselton, Sophie Thatcher, Eve Harlow, Wendy Makkena
- Writer-Director: Noble Jones
- Genre: Romantic Drama
- Run Time: 94 minutes
- MPAA Rating: PG-13 (for brief strong language and some suggestive material)
Leslie C. Halpern is the author of Scantily Clad Truths: Essays on Life with Clothes (and without) and 200 Love Lessons from the Movies.