The fear of aging can sometimes feel crippling, but for Ed Hemsler (John Lithgow), getting old means getting prepared for an uncertain future. Ed is a self-proclaimed “prepper” who spends his days chatting online with fellow doomsdayers and stocking his private bunker for the inevitable end of the world. He is so focused on what’s to come that he neglects to foster what should be important, including a healthy relationship with his estranged adult son (Derek Cecil) and granddaughter. Things change when he meets the widowed and eccentric Ronnie (Blythe Danner), a woman with emotional baggage of her own. The two quickly hit it off and become fast friends, sharing a similar outlook on life and love.
The strength of the film stems from the wonderful performances from the two leads. They have a beautiful chemistry and a believable romantic friendship. I can’t imagine any other actors stepping into these roles. It’s refreshing to see a romance between an over 60 couple, a growing segment of society that’s underrepresented in films. The supporting cast lends an authenticity too, especially Eve Harlow as Ronnie’s younger coworker who dishes out remarkably sage relationship advice.
Major credit is due to writer / director Noble Jones too, as he has created two truly delightful characters. Jones is incredibly skilled behind the camera, with a good eye an accomplished flair for visual storytelling. (Jones is also serves as the film’s cinematographer). It’s a great story that’s translated well onto the screen, and it feels wonderfully universal yet personal.
“The Tomorrow Man” is sweet but never cloying, and has its share of little surprises. What starts out with a senior citizen meet-cute at the grocery store ends with a bittersweet yet hopeful bang, and this low-key, charming, and unique film is the perfect reminder that we should all live in the moment and stop worrying so much about our future.