The Tomorrow Man

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 The Tomorrow Man
 

Ed Hemsler (John Lithgow) has spent his life preparing for the disaster, natural or manmade, that may never happen. Ronnie Meisner, who lost her daughter at just 13 years old, has become a shopaholic and consummate hoarder. These very different people find common ground, and maybe romance, in “The Tomorrow Man.”

Robin:
First-time feature writer-director Noble Lincoln Jones tells a story of two lonely people, getting on in years, whose lives are in a comfortable rut. Ed has stockpiled all manner of supplies – water, batteries, food, weapons and ammunition, a generator and gasoline and other necessary gear – for the coming apocalypse, all hidden in a secret room. Ronnie, since her loss many years ago, has turned to the shopping channels and any other venue to buy all the stuff that has stacked up in her home, unused, ever since.

One day, at the local market, Ed notices Ronnie in the checkout line as she pays her bill in cash – a sign of a fellow survivalist. He soon becomes obsessed with the attractive woman and arranges a chance “meeting” in the parking lot. Soon, a friendship develops and they spend more and more time together. But, both have kept their secrets secret from each other, until….

John Lithgow and Blythe Danner are both comfortable in the skins of their characters. Ed runs his life by the book, always ready for anything. Ronnie is his opposite and a good foil for Ed. As they spend time together, they get to know each other and it is exciting and scary at the same time for them both. It is a sweet look at finding love in our twilight. I give it a C+.

Laura:
Music video director Noble Jones makes his feature film debut scoring wonderful characterizations from his leads working with a slight script.  Ed Hemsler (John Lithgow) is a lonely old man whose apocalyptic pessimism and conspiracy theories have distanced him from his son Brian (Derek Cecil).  He’s set in his routine, which includes watching a female news broadcaster while he eats his dinner, and shopping at Dan’s Market, where he stocks up on cans of tuna and batteries.  When he spies a beautiful older woman buying items he approves of, he finagles a meeting by parking his Ford pickup too close to her driver’s side door, forcing an ‘impromptu’ rescue.

Ronnie’s (Blythe Danner) taken aback by this forward older man, yet agrees to dinner.  Ed can’t stop chatting about all manner of things while Ronnie’s more reticent.  When he takes her home, hoping to be invited in, she instead asks if they can go to his place.  She has a secret much like his in everything but its psychology, and it is this that gives the film its title without adding much to its drama.

“The Tomorrow Man” works best as a showcase for its senior love story, Danner in particular concocting an adorably odd character (she sings ‘Muskrat Love’ and likes to watch war documentaries).  A Thanksgiving visit to Ed’s son’s provides Katie Aselton and “Prospect’s” Sophie Thatcher a chance to shine as his wife and daughter, but their characters are underwritten.  Also notable is Eve Harlow as Ronnie’s protective gift shop coworker Tina.
       
Grade:  C+
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