When a historian from the year 2592 visits present day New York City, she has a lot to learn. Actually it’s not a planned visit. There was a time traveling accident and she was separated from her group and is alone in this world she has only read about. Tomorrow Ever After starts out as a comedy, but along the way viewers may become introspective about the way we see out world.
When Shaina (Ela Thier, who also wrote and directed) finds herself on a city street, she asks various people for help, but no one wants anything to do with this woman who seems to be crazy. The only person who will pay any attention to her is Milton who is mugging her. She latches on to him and her journey to try to find a way home begins.
Shaina’s world is much different than ours. In the future there is no money, no army, no jail. People live in groups, so they are in constant physical contact. The thought of sleeping in her own room is strange and perhaps even a bit scary. Shaina’s first approach to anyone is to hug them. She is amazed at some of the things she is seeing: plastic, cars, phones—things she has only seen in museums. But she is also learning more than she ever thought she would about our time.
It turns out that she knows this time as “The Great Despair”. That in itself gives us pause to consider what there is about our time that would create that name. Of course, the Dark Ages may not have seemed dark to many in that time. So maybe the despair is something that is only seen in hindsight. And perhaps, the fact that she knows this time as that will color her understanding of what she finds. After all, most of the people she meets are struggling to get along. So she does find despair. In a sense, Shaina shows us that the world that is so familiar to us can be seen as a dystopia.
But as the film progresses and we begin to see our world through her eyes we begin to see the very despair she refers to—the loneliness and isolation that seems so constant. People walk around the city without paying any attention to anyone else. The world seems joyless much of the time. Each person is their own little world. Money seems to be more important than people. For someone from Shaina’s time of constant contact with others and mutual care, how could this be anything other than depressing? But her perspective inevitably shows us a side of our world that we overlook because it is so familiar to us.
At the same time, Shaina sees the human spirit overcoming all the things that seem to weigh us down. Even in a world that often seems a world of despair, there are times when joy, love, kindness, and compassion break through the gloom of everyday struggle to bring light into the lives of the people who live in The Great Despair. As such this becomes an ode to perseverance of the human spirit. What dips into a dark place becomes heartwarming and encouraging.
This is the kind of small film that may be hard to find, but well worth the effort.
Photos courtesy of Thier Productions Inc.