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film review

John Lithgow plays Ed Hemsler, who spends his life preparing for a disaster that may never come. Ronnie Meisner, played by Blythe Danner, spends her life shopping for things she may never use in Noble Jones's The Tomorrow Man.Noble Jones/Bleeker Street Media

  • The Tomorrow Man
  • Directed by Noble Jones
  • Written by Noble Jones
  • Starring: John Lithgow and Blythe Danner
  • Classification: PG; 94 minutes
  • Rating: 2.5 out of 4 stars

She’s a mousy hoarder with a taste for Captain & Tennille and war documentaries. He’s a paranoid survivalist and retiree with father-son issues who stocks his fall-out shelter with cans of tuna. And yet, they bond over … well, I’m not really sure what they bond over, which is a problem, because the quirky romantic comedy The Tomorrow Man relies on the believability of their late-in-life love in order for the film to work. Which it does, to some degree – that degree being small-story preciousness and the simple pleasure of eating popcorn while watching Blythe Danner and John Lithgow watching television as they eat popcorn.

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The Tomorrow Man comes from Noble Jones, a first-time writer and director, who has written his female lead as a less wackadoo version of Sally Field’s Doris of Hello, My Name is Doris. The upfront neurosis of Lithgow’s Ed is more serious. Or maybe Ed’s just lonely and meticulously preparing for a doomed tomorrow is his way of not dealing with his sad today. Ronnie? She’s just looking for someone to sing Muskrat Love with. If you are as well, this quaint, doting film might be your thing.

The Tomorrow Man opens June 7.​

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