TOMORROW EVER AFTER — Review by Cate Marquis

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The indie science fiction comedy TOMORROW EVER AFTER offers some telling observations on modern life, through the eyes of a stranded time-traveler from the future. Good science fiction very often is a commentary on present-day life. Science fiction movies about a visitor from another time or place, sometimes as a way to comment on society, are nothing new either – think THE DAY THE EARTH STOOD STILL – but what is a bit different in the case of TOMORROW EVER AFTER is that the visitor is from our own future. And TOMORROW EVER AFTER is nearly a one-woman show, with director/writer/editor Ela Thier also starring in her film. Continue reading…

When 2592 historian Shaina (Ela Thier) time-travels back to 2015, she is part of a team of physicists and historians who have come to study the past. But something goes wrong and Shaina gets separated from the group. Lost in New York City, she nonetheless does not seem very concerned and sets about eagerly examining “artifacts” like discarded paper cups, and trying to talk with people on the street. However, most New Yorkers flee quickly, especially since Shaina greets everyone with a hug and seems to have no awareness of personal boundaries.

The reason she seems so unconcerned about being lost is a device she carries called an “implement,” a devise that can be used communicate like a smart phone, but also does a number of other useful things. Shaina is sure the rest of her team will find her though her implement.

One person does not flee when overly-friendly Shaina greets him – a mugger named Milton (Nabil Vina). He wants her to go to an ATM and get some money. Her response: “What’s an ATM?” Shaina is completely uninterested in the gun Milton shows her but money is a concept she has read about, and she is eager to see some. As it turns out, Shaina’s “implement” can work nearly any electronic devise – including the ATM. However, Shaina’s having a little trouble with it as a communication devise, and starts to realize she might be stranded – so she just asks her new friend Milton for help.

That combination of cluelessness, naivete, and sweet optimism are the basis for most of the humor in this low-budget production, and Thier’s personal charm manages to stretch that out longer than you might expect. TOMORROW EVERY AFTER is a well-meaning film, and even has a powerful message to convey but it is two-thirds of the way through the film before it switches to offering its commentary on present-day life. We never learn that much about Shaina’s time but we eventually do see some new layers to Shaina, revealing she is more than an overgrown six-year-old. Towards its end, the film takes a darker turn and offers some touching moments and observations.

While this is a low-budget film, the photography, by DP Milton Kam, is surprisingly good. The same can be said of the acting, although the script could have used a little tightening up. Why is it that the magical implement cannot be transformed into ID card, or access the internet?

TOMORROW EVERY AFTER has some thoughtful, even moving things to say about contemporary life, although it would be nice if it could get to that point a little sooner.

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Cate Marquis

Cate Marquis is a film critic and historian based in the St. Louis, Missouri area. Marquis reviews film for the St. Louis Jewish Light weekly newspaper and Playback: stl website, as well as other publications. The daughter of artist Paul Marquis, she was introduced to classic and silent films by her father, as well as art and theater. Besides reviewing films, she lectures on film history, particularly the silent film era, has served on the board of the Meramec Classic Film Festival and is a long-time collaborator with the St. Louis International Film Festival, serving on various juries.