New from Al and Linda Lerner on Movies and Shakers: The Tomorrow Man

This film is a graphic example of opposites attract and who better to watch play those than Blythe Danner and John Lithgow. The pace is slow and the story is simple reflecting to the action or inaction of seniors trying to cope with their past and the future.  

This is Director Noble Lincoln Jones’ first feature film. He is known for shooting music videos for the likes of Taylor Swift and Keith Urban. He wrote, directed and shot this film about two very different senior citizens who find companionship and love. 

Ed Hemsler (John Lithgow) is a super organized, retired engineer who is focused on the future. He watches the news incessantly and goes on the internet to try to keep ahead of what’s going on in the world. He has built a secret storehouse with everything he’ll need in a bomb shelter should there be an apocalypse. Ed goes to the grocery store on a regular basis and still pays by check. But one day, he takes notice of an attractive older woman, Ronnie (Blythe Danner) shopping and starts to follow her around to see what she buys. 

Eventually he engages Ronnie in conversation by parking too close to her in the supermarket parking lot so she HAS to talk to him. It’s kind of cute. They go for coffee, start dating, and learning about each other. 

Ed is single with a son, Brian, (Derek Cecil) who hates him for worrying pessimistically about what’s going on in the world. He is totally prepared for disaster. Ronnie is also single and works in a gift shop with a cracker jack of a boss lady. Ronnie doesn’t have much else in her life. She lost a daughter to illness which she almost matter of factly shares. Considering she lives more in the past, it seemed strange that the Director didn’t have her show more emotion about that loss. 

As their relationship progresses, Ed shows off his secret storehouse to her, filled with tons of water, food, clothing, etc. just in case things go south. Finally, she lets him see the inside of her house piled high with everything from old books, clothes, papers, dishes, memorabilia, you name it. It’s surprisingly unorganized for Ed who is totally shocked. She is the definition of a hoarder and would be decluttering guru, Marie Kondo’s dream project.

The pace of this film is very slow and you almost want to light a fire under them both for the first third of the movie. You want them to react more to each other without so much dead space between their lines.  Ed does most of the talking, hammering on his fear of a doomsday. His fireside chat which was supposed to be so romantic gets clouded by his worries. Director Lincoln uses the song “Muskrat Love” which comes on the radio to hit a nerve for Ed and cause some conflict. 

There’s a fun scene where they’re in a hardware store. He’s explaining those small silver metal ball bearings he used to work with and they fall, rolling all over the floor which send them both running. And when their relationship reaches the point where they want to make love, he is so prepared, he comes up with protection and what she does is cute. In fact, there are several times when Danner plays Ronnie very childlike and cute.

Whether you’re a senior or not, Lithgow and Danner play well off each other when they’re animated. Danner plays Ronnie a little too ditsy at times, especially when they go to his son’s Thanksgiving dinner which is strained. 

The film moves as slowly as Ed and Ronnie do in this film and although it may suggest a happy medium for hanging onto some past while prepping for the future. We relate having a close relative who is a combination of Ed and Ronnie. She saves everything from outdated encyclopedias to old non-functioning TVs, but goes to the grocery store every day to keep food and supplies up that could feed a small army. This film exposes some of those elderly habits and fears, but it’s best at showing John Lithgow and Blythe Danner as they ply their craft together. 

Bleecker Street       1 hour 34 minutes         PG-13

from Movies and Shakers

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