John Lithgow and Blythe Danner find love at the end of the world in middling romance

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An apocalyptic septuagenarian romance that leads with its heart rather than its head, “The Tomorrow Man” is warm in spots but never quite comes together.

John Lithgow is Ed, a doomsday prepper who spends his days watching cable news and sharing his theories about the end of the world online, where his handle is “Captain Reality.” When he jumps in his reliable Ford truck to go to his upstate New York grocery store, he pays for his tuna cans and bunker supplies with checks. Occasionally he thinks the voice on his TV is speaking directly to him.

Ed is a little bit off, it’s fair to say, but he’s starry-eyed when he spots Ronnie (Blythe Danner) in the aisle at his grocery store. He mildly stalks her, eventually winning her over with his nervous, awkward charm. Even though he’s “on the wrong side of 60,” as he puts it, he’s able to open up and develop intense, emotional feelings for Ronnie.

Noble Jones, who wrote, directed and shot the film, creates some nice, quiet moments between his two leads, like the scene where Ronnie just wants to sit silently on Ed’s couch and watch old war documentaries. Tensions between Ed and his grown son (Derek Cecil) are more strained, and a dramatic scene at a Thanksgiving dinner comes off as emotionally overwrought.

Many of Ed’s characteristics are in line with that of a mass shooter, but his views are softened when he opens his heart to another living, breathing human being. Perhaps that’s the takeaway here: the end of the world as we know it may be inevitable, but with a little human connection, it will all be fine.

‘The Tomorrow Man’

GRADE: C+

Rated PG-13: for brief strong language and some suggestive material

Running time: 94 minutes

agraham@detroitnews.com

@grahamorama

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