Noble Jones (as Noble Lincoln Jones)
Romantic Comedies are not part of my favourite film genre. And least of all romantic comedies where the subjects are old folks. So, what can I say about THE TOMORROW MAN? – a romantic comedy about two seniors who fall in love. It is a charming and winning film, full of surprises that works because of a heartfelt script and two amazing leads – Blythe Danner and John Lithgow.
THE TOMORROW MAN is Ed Hemsler (Lithgow). Ed spends his life preparing for a disaster that may never come. Ronnie Meisner (Danner) spends her life shopping for things she may never use. In a small town somewhere in America, these two people will try to find love while trying not to get lost in each other’s stuff.
Just as Ed surprises Ronnie every time they meet (the first time suddenly appearing at the supermarket, one time when his face appears as she closes her car’s hood) the script is also full of surprises. When Ed drives Ronnie home after the first date, when he turns on the car radio, Ronnie starts singing. Out of the blue he screeches the car to a stop and runs out screaming. What happens next is unexpected, surprise and totally charming. And enough to knock the audience off their seats – the couple’s first embrace. This is is makes he film work – a script that is so engaging, funny and unexpected. Another scene has Ed going on and on talking non-stop about himself and his family and then suddenly stopping to say that he is saying too much. Ronnie then surprises with her candid revelation about herself and her family. Other examples, in fact too many to mention follow – a really good thing.
Both characters are eccentric. Ed imagines that the news lady on TV speaks to him. “There has been a third power outage. But Ed Hemsler has a backup generator. Because Ed Hemsler thinks of everything. Because Ed Hamster thinks of everything.” Ronnie is more forward about the relationship than is believed at the start. A few wise words from the couple also offers advice to the audience, just as Ed tells his son on the telephone at the film’s start: “What matters is what you do now.”
Lithgow and Danner make the perfect believable senior couple. They do not come across as condescending. They do not relive their old younger glory days but acknowledge their age (I retired at the wrong side of 60, says Ed at one point in the film) and limitations.
The film has been described by Jimmy Fallon as an old age version of SILVER LININGS PLAYBOOK. Yes and no. THE TOMORROW MAN is a film about eccentrics, too but it is not a sensationalized romance like PLAYBOOK. Both are well-made, entertaining films and THE TOMORROW MAN excels in its own weird way. The film shows that there is life after 60 and that a romantic comedy about seniors can still have appeal and zest.