This story contains spoilers.
Going out with a catastrophic bang would be an understatement for director and writer Noble Jones. The Tomorrow Man is an oddball romance movie that follows two opposites in an unlikely love story.
The storyline was unique and had the possibility of being a memorable tale, but it fell short in its simplicity and reduction of characters into very surface-level archetypes. The story itself was relatively basic: love at first sight between an unsuspecting female and an obsessive man. It’s the usual overdone plot of the strong male lead whisking away a submissive woman. It’s generic and doesn’t appeal to younger people who seek out more progressive content on the big screen.
The film is centered around the fear of the world abruptly ending as well as lead character Ed’s (John Lithgow) obsession with this occurring. Ronnie (Blythe Danner) is an incessant hoarder, a disorder that took over her life after her daughter died. There is not a lot more to say about Ronnie because of the overwhelmingly unbalanced character development that heavily favours Ed. The story focuses so heavily on him, that it completely overshadows Ronnie’s character. This emphasizes the gender imbalance present in the film. The uneven dynamic between the two characters make this not a love story between two people but between Ed and his obsession with the end of the world.
There is a creepy overtone to their relationship that is especially noticeable during Ronnie and Ed’s first interactions. Ronnie is skittish and seems scared by Ed initially. Ed comes onto her very abruptly; he follows her in the grocery store and finds out where she works. He repeatedly talks vaguely about the world ending, about how everyone is going to die and about preparing for “when shit hits the fan”. Ed and Ronnie’s first sexual encounter happens under the influence of white wine and liquor shots, leaving the audience uncomfortable and wondering if it was consensual. Throughout this, it is hard to gauge if Ed is delusional or not, but he definitely seems unwell, again leading to the eerie feeling throughout this movie.
There is something to be said about the bold choice to write a love story between two elders. I appreciated that Jones took a stab at something rarely done by portraying love through an older couple, something that modern film usually doesn’t show. This new take was interesting to watch and did set the movie apart from a traditional romance story.
However, the portrayal of Gen Zs missed the mark. Both teens in the movie were angsty and too contrasting to the storyline and other characters to be enjoyed. Because they were so extreme, they were unrelatable to younger audience members.
The ending of this movie is an absolute bombshell of catastrophe, quite literally. By the end, Ronnie’s story is left completely open-ended, Ed’s purpose in the world essentially diminishes and no other characters are heard from again.
Overall, this movie was not one for the ages, as it lacked complexity, progressive content and a real purpose. Using older actors was an interesting twist, but it was not enough to make this movie worth the watch. It went out with a bang, in the worst possible way.