Gasparilla International Film Festival: Tomorrow (2018) reviewed by Jonathan Berk

Sometimes the people who write the plot synopsis of a film do a horrible job of capturing what the experience is actually going to be about. For director Martha Pinson’s new film Tomorrow (2018), nothing could be more accurate of a statement to describe how misleading the synopsis for the film was. While its main character is a former soldier, the film is truly an ensemble piece with people all trying to find their place in the world, and in each other’s  lives. I almost skipped this film because its synopsis didn’t initially appeal to me, but I’m very glad that I took a chance, as I ended up really enjoying it.

Tomorrow wasn’t what I expected, which may be why it won me over

While I liked the film, it starts out by really pushing its audience away. There is a series of rapid cuts of soldiers, an IED (improvised explosive device), civilians, more soldiers, sand, and then people yelling all before we truly meet Tesla (Sebastian Street). A few people at my screening didn’t make it past this opening, as it felt erratic and cheaply made. The scene makes sense in context over time, but it was a jarring opening that truly only lends itself to a small aspect of the overall story. Fortunately, for those who didn’t bail so quickly, the film picks up with charming characters that you can’t help but fall in love with.

Tesla is a great example, as we find out that he is bitter because he lost the use of his legs in the war, and his fiance left him while he was deployed. He appears to be living in a drunken stupor, with no regard to anything or anyone around him. Aside from the pain, he appears to be in at times, he is also suffering from the effects of PTSD. It might make him seem like he’s a bit unlikable (or more of a sympathetic character), but he soon meets Sky (Stuart Brennan), who has an immediate and powerful impact on his life.

Sky is the type of guy who is clearly living every day like it is the only one he’s going to get. He’s outgoing and charming, which allows him to get by some rules that would normally apply to everyone. In fact, he meets Telsa while trying to bring his dog into a pub. The bouncer refuses at first but Sky’s story as to why his specific dog should be allowed is enough to get Tesla to encourage the bouncer to let him in anyway. Sky sets off meeting some girls, and getting Tesla to open up a bit.

It’s through Sky that Tesla meets Katie (Stephanie Leonidas) and Lee-Anne (Sophie Kennedy Clark). Katie is extremely forward, and pushes Telsa even farther out of his shell. After she essentially invites herself and the other two to Telsa’s house for dinner, we see an immediate change. From this moment, the film focuses in on the relationship with the four characters, and I found it impossible not to love them all.

The downside of having your story turn to an ensemble piece is finding the right way to balance it all. Realistically, Sky and Telsa get most of the character development, and the girls are used as a way of pushing the guys to make the necessary changes in their lives. However, the scenes that are used to achieve this are either charming or hilarious, making the film an absolute joy for the most part. Of course, there are some sad moments – several of which dip heavily into melodrama, which isn’t always used to good effect. Still, there wasn’t anything in the movie that totally took me out of it.

Final thoughts…

Tomorrow has a number of little twists and turns as these four individuals try to figure out what to do next. Since discussing any of these in any real detail would constitute a spoiler, I’m opting to leave many of those out. However, know that there will be a moment when a character is in full freak-out mode that then leads to a simple cut away to an earlier moment we had not seen, which left members of the audience in stitches for several minutes. Tomorrow was a lot of fun, and a film I would definitely watch again, earning it the Not Quite Golden, Ponyboy rating.

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