The Tomorrow Man (2019), written and directed by Noble Jones, is a dramatic film starring John Lithgow (Ed Hemsler) and Blythe Danner (Ronnie Meisner).
It’s a story where two lonely souls in the twilight of their years harboring secrets find romance set against existential angst and misery somewhere in small town America. Ed Hemsler is a retired systems analyst living a solitary life and preparing for the apocalypse. Ronnie Meisner is a widow still grieving the loss of her teenage daughter living a somewhat solitary life but working part-time at a gift shop. They both harbor secrets which are revealed in the narrative of the film. The film co-stars Derek Cecil (Brian), Katie Aselton (Janet), Sophie Thatcher (Jeanine), Eve Harlow (Tina) and Wendy Makkena (Beverly St. Michaels).
During a trip to the grocery store, Ed spots Ronnie in the checkout line buying Moth Ice Crystals which get his spark plugs flashing. He thinks he’s found a kindred soul like himself. He stalks her and seizes an opportunity to force an introduction which is a hoot to watch, and than, pursues her. Unbeknownst to Ed, Ronnie’s secret isn’t what he is supposing it to be, and Ronnie doesn’t let on. In spite of their psychological hangups and quirks, which reveal themselves in the narrative, they begin to date and things progress surprisingly enough. Ed who feels confident in his relationship with Ronnie goes so far as to share his secret hiding place with her which impresses her and even teaches her to shoot.
He invites Ronnie as his date to Thanksgiving dinner at his son’s place where the simmering tensions between father and son are played out at the dining room table but Ronnie isn’t fazed or reacts. To her, everything is copacetic. When invited back to Ronnie’s place, he is horrified to learn her secret but passions prevail and they make whoopee in the chaotic mess. Just when you think they have a chance, tragedy strikes. Following his discharge from hospital, he insists they do something about their secret lives but Ronnie isn’t interested and the relationship is sidelined. Will they get together again? Well, you’ve got to see the movie to find out.
It’s a wonderful film made up of a stellar cast where Lithgow and Danner, two accomplished and seasoned actors, shine and run with their roles bringing a gravitas and dignity to their characters. Lithgow is marvelous in his role as a delusional crackpot set in his thinking and take on the world, and so is Danner, as a grieving mother, living in the past and coping as best she can. Their performances are so convincing and believable. Jones weaves together many visual elements to create a heartfelt film juxtaposing the narrative of Ed and Ronnie’s relationship against the narrative of their individual lives and backstory, and juxtaposing two sides of the same coin, similar behaviors stemming from vastly opposing mindsets. I love the surprised ending which turns everything on it’s head.
The film resonated with me on many levels touching on the healing power of love as seen through the changes in behavior and cognitive thinking with Ed and Ronnie, and that we should take a stab at love no matter our shortcomings. What do we have to lose, really? I highly recommend the film for its superb acting and dialogue, and compassionate portrayal of two eccentric characters. It’s a feel good movie and their romance will tug at your heartstrings. Do see it for you won’t be disappointed.
Pacific Northwest Pictures Releases The Tomorrow Man in Toronto, Vancouver, Montreal on Friday, June 7, 2019