Tomorrow

Movie review by
S. Jhoanna Robledo, Common Sense Media
Tomorrow Movie Poster Image
Upbeat docu about fighting climate change, saving the world.
  • NR
  • 2017
  • 120 minutes

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

Positive Messages

The world faces many serious issues -- climate change, economic inequality, surging population -- but there are also lots of innovative ways to address them, if we're willing to rethink the status quo and consider new approaches to the way we live our lives, feed our families, and power our homes and businesses. One key message is that the global economy, based on promoting consumer spending, may not be sustainable. Encouraging people to buy less and live simpler lives may be better for the planet and may ultimately make us happier. 

Positive Role Models & Representations

Showcases many people who are using curiosity and perseverance to fuel their desire to change the world -- with clean energy, sustainable agriculture, more egalitarian economic systems, and more. If even a fraction of these ideas take off, they could have a huge impact.

Violence
Sex
Language
Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Tomorrow is an optimistic documentary about saving the planet. Actress Melanie Laurent, who directed the movie, traveled the globe in search of innovative ways people have devised to counter climate change, economic inequality, and other critical issues. The film is informative and thought provoking (with a really fun soundtrack), and could inspire some viewers to take action. There's no inappropriate content, and messages/themes include the importance of innovation, curiosity, and perseverance.

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What's the story?

An article in the journal Nature inspired French actress Melanie Laurent to make TOMORROW. The distressing piece warned of food shortages, rising global temperatures, and increasing planetary conflict. So Laurent and her crew set off on a trip around the world in search of solutions to these huge, looming problems. Along with co-director Cyril Dion, the group traveled from India to Iceland, England to California, finding people who are developing new ways to raise crops, handle garbage, issue money, and more -- different ways for people to live without threatening the health of Planet Earth. Tomorrow showcases these innovators and makes the case that there's still time to put these changes in place; indeed, some people are already doing it. 

Is it any good?

Many films about climate change have made the case that the world is all but doomed if we don't do something; this is one of the few that really tries to figure out what that something could be. In Tomorrow, Laurent and her team meet farmers who are growing more food in less space -- and with less chemicals -- who show that sustainable agriculture can really work. They find a company that makes money turning garbage into compost, reducing landfill usage, and they interview financiers who explain how to revise basic economic models in ways that will encourage sustainable development instead of insatiable consumer spending. In short, the movie demonstrates ideas that that work -- that are already working (even if some are ones you've heard of before). The tone is optimistic and upbeat, without shying away from the very real, very complicated issues that we all face.

Tomorrow is a worthwhile watch for sure, but the information is delivered in a straightforward way that, though effective, doesn't always hold viewers' gaze. It can also sometimes seem too simplistic. Yes, it showcases amazing, innovative ways to rethink basic practices, but it doesn't always explain what they cost. The companies here are mostly small startups, and if their processes aren't fundamentally economical, it will be tough to convert their concepts from theory to practice. Still, there's no denying that Laurent's movie is a fun jaunt into the world of possibilities; hopefully some of the people we meet will see their ideas become mainstream. 

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about sustainability and how it's discussed in Tomorrow. What causes climate change? Do you think it's an important issue? If so, why do you think many disagree?

  • Did Tomorrow make you reconsider any parts of your own lifestyle? Is it hard to think about doing that when it's tough to see how small changes might have any impact on such large-scale issues? 

  • How does the movie's fundamentally optimistic tone compare to other, gloomier documentaries about climate change, like An Inconvenient Truth?

  • How does the movie promote curiosity and perseverance? Why are those important character strengths?

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