OTTAWA’S CINEMA FOR INTERNATIONAL AND INDEPENDENT MOVIES

The Tomorrow Man

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The Tomorrow Man by Noble Jones is a thoughtful character study that makes astute observations about the coping mechanisms we use to protect ourselves from the world, with solid performances from John Lithgow and Blythe Danner as two troubled senior citizens embarking on a tenuous courtship.

Poster for the quirky late-life romance The Tomorrow ManLithgow plays Ed, a lonely retiree who fills his days preparing for a sociopolitical apocalypse, both physically (filling a hidden panic room with canned goods and gasoline) and philosophically, presiding over dark-web chatrooms with ominous declarations. Desperate for real-world interaction, Ed crosses paths with Ronnie (Danner), a quirky, withdrawn clerk at a local collectibles store. Ed asks Ronnie out, and after getting to know one another, they soon find common ground. But the budding romance runs into roadblocks, owing to Ed’s interior world of fears and anxieties, not to mention the secrets Ronnie keeps hidden.

The movie’s hope comes in depicting two characters, particularly of advancing age, who initially resist but eventually are capable of looking at their lives honestly to make the incremental changes needed to escape those protective, isolating routines.

Lithgow is versatile and fearless as ever, making Ed simultaneously obnoxious and sympathetic. The sincerity of his performance – insistent, impatient, but always in earnest – keeps Ed just shy of becoming exasperating, allowing him to retain his likability as he woos Ronnie.
Danner uses her febrile intelligence and natural compassion to portray Ronnie's intriguing, lived-in reclusiveness, providing an effective fulcrum for Ed’s self-discoveries, and a good comedic counterbalance to his kooky rants. Together, they make for an eccentric and adorable, if troubled, pair.

Quirky, tender and hopeful, The Tomorrow Man may not depict a romance or relationship that everyone will immediately relate to, but Jones’ kindness and generosity as a storyteller encourages his audience to treat these characters empathetically, while providing a satisfying option for a tough-to-please demographic – adult children looking for something to watch with their parents.

– Tony Maglio, The Wrap

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