The Tomorrow Man Parent Guide
Standout acting and quirky characters aren't enough to make up for a lackluster plot and dreadful ending.
Parent Movie Review
“The world, the flesh, and the devil conspire, and things fall apart,” explains Ed (John Lithgow). To hedge against this imagined future composed of conspiracies, martial law, infrastructure collapse, and foreign occupation, Ed has prepared a hidden room in his home filled with food, supplies, and a generator. “This is my security blanket,” he says, “my safety net, my 401k.”
It’s also Ed’s obsession. Divorced, lonely, and driven, Ed spends his time online, researching conspiracies and seeking to understand the reasons behind a world that is changing in ways he doesn’t understand. He hectors his son (Derek Cecil) about his lack of preparation, becoming increasingly contentious. But then one day he meets Ronnie (Blythe Danner) at the grocery store. Ronnie is paying with cash and since Ed distrusts credit cards, he assumes she shares his “prepper” world view.
Ed’s obvious interest in Ronnie is initially met with unease. Ronnie seems almost frail, reeling from the tragic deaths of her husband and daughter and coping in counterproductive ways. But the two scarred souls find companionship and eventually love. Their relationship is where The Tomorrow Man really shines. John Lithgow and Blythe Danner offer stellar performances here, creating people who are quirky, vulnerable, and even sweet despite their obvious disfunction. Their journeys into accepting each other’s brokenness while trying to moderate their own oddities are touching. And director Noble Jones has treated both characters with tenderness and respect that values their humanity without whitewashing their flaws. As a character study, The Tomorrow Man makes for interesting viewing.
Sadly, even outstanding acting and interesting characters aren’t enough to save this production. Good characters and well written dialogue are wasted on an often aimless plot and a very slow moving story. (The movie feels significantly longer than its hour and a half runtime.) But even these flaws pale against the ending. The finale, which manages to be both shocking and ill-advised, completely subverts the message of the rest of the story and is likely to leave viewers shaking their heads in disbelief.
Fortunately, The Tomorrow Man comes without too much baggage in terms of negative content: the film is safe for teens but it is unlikely any of them would be interested in watching it. Potential viewers will want to be aware that there is an implied sexual relationship, some social drinking, and just over a dozen profanities, including, oddly enough for a PG-13 movie, three sexual expletives. Audiences are unlikely to be fazed by the negative content in this movie: it is the story and its senseless conclusion that will annoy them. Sadly, The Tomorrow Man is unlikely to have much of a future.Directed by Noble Jones. Starring John Lithgow, Blythe Danner, and Derek Cecil. Running time: 94 minutes. Theatrical release May 22, 2019. Updated June 4, 2019
Watch the trailer for The Tomorrow Man
The Tomorrow Man
Rating & Content Info
Why is The Tomorrow Man rated PG-13? The Tomorrow Man is rated PG-13 by the MPAA for brief strong language and some suggestive material
Violence: A woman seems frightened by a man’s polite advances. A woman faints when she sees a dead deer hanging in a garage. A man teaches a woman to shoot using a teddy bear as a target. A teenager yells at her father and runs out of the house and down the street. A man has a stroke and falls down. A bomb explodes.
Sexual Content: A man and woman hold hands, embraces and kisses on a few occasions. A woman mentions the “walk of shame”. A woman holds a multi-pack of condoms. I man takes out a condom prior to sexual activity and the woman throws it away. A man and woman kiss passionately and the man removes his trousers.
Profanity: There are just over a dozen profanities in this film including scatological and anatomical words, terms of deity, mild curses and three sexual expletives.
Alcohol / Drug Use: A main character takes appropriate prescription medication. There is mild social drinking involving beer and wine. A main character drinks two servings of alcohol to handle a surprising revelation.
Page last updated June 4, 2019
The Tomorrow Man Parents' Guide
Why do you think Ed is so interested in conspiracy theories? What draws people into a conspiracy-based world view?
Preppers (also known as survivalists) have a definite world view and stockpile resources against a projected catastrophic future. There is a difference between preppers and people who make common-sense preparations against natural disasters. Most emergency management organizations recommend that every household have an emergency plan. What are the most likely natural disasters your area faces – earthquakes, tornadoes, hurricanes, wildfires, blizzards? Are you prepared with 72 hour kits or other recommended items?
Loved this movie? Try these books…
Canadian journalist Jonathan Kay’s non-fiction book, Among the Truthers: A Journey Through America’s Growing Conspiracist Underground takes an in-depth look at popular conspiracies and the people who propagate them. Arthur Goldwag’s Cults, Conspiracies, and Secret Societies provides an encyclopedic view of the most frequently cited issues in the conspiracy world.
If you’re looking for a matter-of-fact guide to help you prepare for any eventuality from unemployment to natural disasters, you can check out Lisa Bedford’s Survival Mom: How to Prepare Your Family for Everyday Disasters and Worst-Case Scenarios.
Related home video titles:
Another film about mature adults struggling with life’s challenges as they try to build a relationship is Last Chance Harvey, starring Dustin Hoffman and Emma Thompson.
In Shadowlands, famed author and Oxford professor, C.S. Lewis, has settled into a comfortable life. But then he crosses paths with American writer, Joy Gresham. She challenges him at every turn and upends his life for the better.
Quartet follows a group of seniors living at Beecham Home for retired performers. When a diva (Maggie Smith) comes to live in the home, old issues re-surface and past friends face the challenges that come with age.
Love the Coopers shares the story of a couple tired of their 40-year marriage who are planning to have one last happy family Christmas before they part ways. But life, as they say, is full of surprises.