Tomorrow

Life looks up for wheelchair-confined Iraq War veteran Tesla (Sebastian Street) when he becomes fast friends with Sky (Stuart Brennan), who introduces him to business student Katie (Stephanie Leonidas) and supports his talents as a chef. But Sky is dealing with a secret of his own.

By Ben Travis | Posted 13 days ago

Tomorrow is a film with a lot on its mind. Directed by Martha Pinson, Scorsese’s long-time script supervisor (Scorsese also Exec Produces), it’s an issue-driven picture diving headlong into topics such as dealing with disability, PTSD, living with HIV and strained father relationships, to name but a few. If Pinson’s film deals with its themes with tact and candour, it is too overstuffed to feel truly moving.

Written by its leads Sebastian Street and Stuart Brennan so they could perform in something other than vampire, zombie or gangster flicks, Tomorrow ambitiously tries to juggle numerous Big Themes. The A-plot strand follows Iraq War veteran Tesla (Street), suffering with PTSD (there are flashbacks to combat action with Spain convincingly doubling as Afghanistan) and loneliness, until a happenstance meeting in a bar with Sky (Brennan) opens up his life — chiefly by introducing him to MA business student Katie (Leonidas) who gets under his hardened shell. The second through-line follows Sky dealing with his HIV+ (although it’s a secret to the other characters, it is telegraphed earlier to the audience), resisting both a relationship with artist Lee-Anne (Sophie Kennedy Clark) and any attempts to seek help for his illness.

It is well acted by both its leads — Street and Leonidas generate good chemistry — and gains something from familiar faces in smaller roles.

Winding around these main plot cores are story threads around Tesla and Katie’s attempts to raise cash for a gourmet-burger restaurant (a sign that the film has been held up in release), Tesla’s attempts to survive in a top-end fine-dining restaurant, the strained relationship between Sky and his father, and tensions between flatmates Katie and Lee-Anne.

As a story it is perhaps too busy to do every dynamic justice and is overladen with issues it wants to explore — a soldier coming to terms with the physical and mental effects of conflict is a fertile area to explore and the film is good on the day-to-day realities of being disabled, be it in the confines of work (in this case a kitchen), relationships (the film doesn’t shy away from sex) or the minutiae of everyday living (the sheer effort it takes to get up three steps leading to a front door). Yet while PTSD feels completely aligned to Tesla’s experiences, the HIV+ storyline feels more bolted on, less organically flowing from the story-world of the film.

Still it is well acted by both its leads — Street and Leonidas generate good chemistry — and gains something from familiar faces in smaller roles; James Cosmo as a potential sponsor for Tesla’s restaurant, Stephen Fry as a kindly health worker and Paul Kaye as a shouty Michelin-starred chef who makes Gordon Ramsay look like a wall-flower.

Tomorrow has too much going on both plot-wise and thematically but gets by on good performances, a sensitive, informed look at oft-ignored issues and a heart firmly in the right place.