Review by Camden Ferrell
Tom of Your Life is a “fable” from writer/director Jer Sklar. This movie also marks Sklar’s feature film directorial debut. While the film has a really unique and intriguing premise, the movie doesn’t always make the most of its potential, and it falls flat as a result.
Tom is not an average boy. He has a rare condition where he ages four years every hour. Not wanting him to spend his only day on Earth being prodded in a laboratory, Jess, a nurse at the hospital, decides to take him out for one day, so he can enjoy life. Again, this is a really cool premise, and the rapid rate of aging definitely gives the movie an element of urgency that is unique.
The script is fairly decent throughout. It mostly thrives in the first half of the film before Tom becomes middle aged. There’s something so overdone yet continuously enjoyable about young children discovering the world, and that’s where the movie succeeds the most. Seeing Jess interact with the younger Tom’s is heartwarming, and it’s a proper exploration of the human condition that isn’t really explored as well in the latter half of the film.
The acting is mostly unobjectionable. A few different actors play Tom at different ages, but Sklar plays Tom form ages 24-104. This accounts for most of the movie, and his acting is fairly decent but nothing revolutionary. One of the best parts of this movie is Baize Buzan’s leading performance as Jess. She carries this movie fairly well, and she does have a natural charm that makes some of the slower scenes a little more tolerable. She isn’t perfect, but she does show a lot of promise in this performance.
The main fault with this movie is how it handles Tom after his teenage years. After the years of childhood where Tom can play with other kids, experience aspects of daily life, discover sexual expression and rebellion, there isn’t too much left to explore. In his adult years, the movie focuses on some out of place side plots that do nothing to continue exploring the themes throughout the movie.
However, it is worth noting, the film’s inability to adequately explore each age is due to the self-imposed restriction of one day. If the film were really able to pull it off, it would be impressive. Unfortunately, this singular day isn’t always the profound and emotional experience it could have been. The film tries to contextualize the universality of aging and life this way, but it doesn’t hit the mark.
The movie isn’t bad by any means, but the last half of the film creates an abrupt narrative and tonal shift that is fairly off-putting. There are many scenes that could have been eliminated or ones that felt rushed or too long. It doesn’t really get back on course until its final scene which is actually pretty heartwarming. Sadly, this doesn’t make up for the movie’s shortcomings.
Tom of Your Life is quite an original movie, but it doesn’t live up to its narrative potential. Buzan’s performance is enjoyable and the premise is unique, but the film makes some questionable narrative choices that may not appeal to all viewers.
Tom of Your Life will be available on VOD 9/1.