The Tomorrow Man

Movie review by
Tara McNamara, Common Sense Media
The Tomorrow Man Movie Poster Image
Quirky romance likely won't appeal to kids; language, sex.
  • PG-13
  • 2019
  • 95 minutes

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

While preparing for the future is important, it's more important that you live for today with your loved ones. Sometimes we need to let go of how we think people should be and just accept them for who they are.

Positive Role Models & Representations

The characters are neither positive role models nor bad influences. They're just humans dealing with their own issues in the best way they know how.

Violence

Unexplained event that implies impending doom, but it's not violent or scary. A man's stalker-ish behavior initially makes a woman feel uncomfortable and unsafe, but they eventually become a couple. A family dinner escalates into a screaming match. A character's eccentric behavior can be traced back to a tragic loss. Deer carcass is seen.

Sex

The central romance involves discussion of behaving like "a perfect gentleman," pecks on the lips, and one passionate make-out scene in which the woman's shirt is open and her bra is exposed (it's implied they had sex). A giant box of condoms is seen, but when one is offered to use, it's tossed aside. A man often wears only boxer shorts around his house.

Language

Swearing includes "a--hole," "crap," "s--t," "son of a bitch," and "f--k"; a teen says "oh my f---ing God."

Consumerism

Ford is seen and mentioned to represent reliability, quality, patriotism. Several grocery store scenes show real products; products shown most prominently include Campbell's Soup, Cheez-Its, Clorox, David's Seeds, Gatorade, Prius, Ronzoni, Starkist Tuna (referred to as "Charlie"), and Trojan condoms. An Apple laptop is in the backdrop.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Characters drink wine at dinner and when things get stressful. A man says he doesn't drink to the point of excess so that he can keep his wits about him. A character smokes. A man takes prescription medications vital to his health.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that The Tomorrow Man stars John Lithgow and Blythe Danner as two mildly eccentric Baby Boomers who fall in love. Their romance -- which includes a passionate make-out scene in which clothes start to come off (though only a bra is seen) -- likely won't interest kids. The movie also creeps along like an old man with a tennis ball walker: It's slow and quiet, with a few moments of shouting during a family dinner (expletives include "f--k," "s--t," and "a--hole"). Lithgow's character is a doomsday prepper; when he spots Danner's character, he gets obsessed and starts stalking her. While viewers know he's harmless, his tricks to get her to talk to him can feel creepy/unnerving: He parks too close to her driver's side door, he follows her to the store so he can bump into her, and he shows up at her work. She does have her own eccentricity, too, which we learn evolves from her daughter's death. Most of the adults drink on occasion, and a non-aspirational character smokes.

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What's the story?

In THE TOMORROW MAN, Ed Hemsler (John Lithgow) spends his retirement as a doomsday prepper, lonely except for his chatroom friends, who cheer him on. When he sees Ronnie Meisner (Blythe Danner), Ed is sure that he's found his soul mate. The two timidly enter a relationship, each not sure whether the other will accept their secret hobbies.

Is it any good?

This romance is more of a character piece than a film, and two very quirky characters make for one quirky film. Ed seems like your typical small-town senior citizen: He drinks out of an American flag coffee cup, proudly drives an old Ford truck, and pays for his groceries by check. But he's also a survivalist who's constantly readying himself for what he believes is an inevitable apocalypse. As Ed, Lithgow is more Third Rock from the Sun than Footloose -- he's goofy and a little pathetic. Danner, meanwhile,  plays Ronnie as a charmless, low-talking widow who loves war documentaries but faints at the sight of a deer carcass. It's tough to see what attracts these two, but loneliness is known to create odd couples.

As far as older-skewing romances go, The Tomorrow Man is lacking. It's not as naughty or as fun as It's Complicated or Something's Gotta Give. In some ways, it's more like a buddy film with a sex scene, and the sweetness is kind of delightful when the two decide they're BFFs (only after they ask the grandkid what that means, of course). Some themes may resonate more with older crowds: the high cost of prescription drugs, answering to a much younger boss, or just wanting people to accept you for who you are. On the other hand, very little will relate to younger audiences, other than the teen granddaughter (Sophie Thatcher) who knows how to push her dad's buttons. While Ed is trying to delay his world coming to an end, antsy teens will be welcoming it.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about Ed and Ronnie's obsessions in The Tomorrow Man. Why do you think they developed? Ed's son says that if something makes someone happy and it's not hurting anyone, then there's nothing wrong with it. Do you think that's the case with both Ed and Ronnie -- or should someone intervene?

  • Someone reflects on great advice they were given: "Sometimes it can feel like you're losing everything, but you're not losing, you're gaining." How does that pertain to the movie? How do you think it's applicable to real life?

  • What audience do you think this movie is aimed at? How can you tell?

Movie details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love romance

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