Friday, September 4, 2020

Tom of Your Life Review: A Beautiful Life in a Day

Release date: September 1, 2020
Running time: 92 minutes
Starring: Baize Buzan, Jeremy Sklar, James Sharpe 

When a baby is born who inexplicably grows, evolves and ages four years an hour, a strung out nurse named Jess (Buzan) smuggles him out of the hospital to show him what life is all about before the authorities and time catch up with them both.  Throughout the day, Tom (Sklar, Judah Abner Paul, Joshua PaulDominic Rescigno) experiences an entire life's worth of moments in the moments he has on Earth.  However, things become complicated when Jess's actions feel partly fueled by her past and the hospital that Tom was taken from tries to hunt him down.

Tom of Your Life has a ridiculous premise, but one that allows for a funny and emotional exploration of life in a very short period of time.  Tom goes through growth spurts every hour, and his character is played by 4 actors as a result.  The film did a good job of getting actors that can pass for one person, and of playing to each age group's strengths.  Eight year old Tom is cute and curious.  12 year old Tom is starting to find himself and his independence.  Teenager Tom is full of hormones and youthful angst.  And adult Tom goes through many phases on his night time journey.  They are all well acted and enjoyable to watch.  And they are shepherded on this night by Jess, who does a good job of being a mother / friend to Tom.  Their rapport is good no matter which Tom is playing, though I did think it felt more genuine with the earlier Toms and the later life Tom.  But that could also be a result of the story that was being told and the situations that they were placed in.

As with life, the story of Tom of Your Life is a mixed bag.  What it does wonderfully is it allows you to experience many aspects of life in a single day, with a quirky setup and situation.  The writing is clever with lots of dry humor and funny situations.  You get to see this curious person who looks much older than he is experience some very normal situations with a childlike wonder.  And there are lots of regular experiences and interaction that can take on a silly or sinister tone because of Tom's viewpoint.  Some of the questions he asks have a wonderful dry humor, and hearing him describe every day situations is very funny.  However, although the story starts off well and ends well, I did not love the middle part of it.  The story took a turn that allows for some new experiences for Tom and new characters, but it just wasn't one that I really wanted to see.  And it seems to leave a few threads unresolved that I would have liked to know.  And although the story mechanic of him growing 4 years in an hour was clever, the growth occurred instantly on the hour, making for some strange transitions.  And despite this premise, it feels like there were instances where Tom should have aged but didn't, all in service of the story.  And lastly, Tom's knowledge was a mixed bag.  He had some knowledge of things he shouldn't have but also didn't know some very basic things.  But despite this, the story in this film provides an interesting premise and a heartfelt conclusion, one that was enjoyable to see and experience.  It really does give you an appreciation for life and the human experience.

Tom of Your Life's accelerated mechanic lets you experience a life from start to finish, with all the emotions, bumps, bruises, and love that you would expect.

Watch it.

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