Sundance 2019: “The Tomorrow Man” Review
John Lithgow plays Ed, a self-proclaimed doomsday prepper constantly preparing for the day that “the shit hits the fan.” One day, while doing his shopping, he notices Ronnie (Blythe Danner), a woman shopping in the store for what he assumes to be doomsday preparation items. As they get closer to each other and begin dating, they both learn more about each other that changes things slightly.
What sticks out about this film is that it is nothing like I expected it to be going into the theater. John Lithgow and Blythe Danner are perfectly paired with incredibly endearing chemistry on-screen. It is a beautiful but bizarre romantic comedy featuring two incredible actors. Their chemistry shines through every scene, and their talent is undeniable. The best scenes involve the quick back and forth between them during seemingly small conversations.
The script is phenomenal with subtle humor woven throughout. Small things like the way Ed says that Ronnie’s name is a man’s name when he first meets her or asking her what type of tuna fish and toilet paper she likes, really keep the audience laughing. I also appreciate how endearing and real the characters feel to the audience. I think these subtle nods at humor and the awkwardness between the two plays well. The basis and the story of the film are so simple, but the results are pure joy.
Perhaps one of the most impactful scenes in the film is where Ed is describing the way that the world will end. The way that director Noble Jones depicts this in the movie isn’t with shocking imagery but with the subtle cuts to the human reaction to these things with Ed’s son or Ronnie staring out the window or looking outside with the sound edited right into the conversation of either gunshots or something else. It was so simple, yet so impactful.
The relationship between Ed and his son is a complicated one but one that I feel rounded out the film. His son’s disapproval of the way he lives his life is straining on their relationship, but seeing the growth in their relationship and his son’s understanding of Ed’s life make for an inspirational moment.
As I said at the beginning, I didn’t expect this film to be what it was, and I certainly didn’t expect the ending. The Tomorrow Man is a delightful story of finding love, acceptance, and happiness in your life, even if it is in preparation for the apocalypse. John Lithgow and Blythe Danner are a breath of fresh air and are captivating in their roles that are sure to bring a smile to your face. The Tomorrow Man is a beautiful little film featuring the talent of two wonderful older actors, proving that some of their best work is still ahead of them.