Ela Thier brings a fresh perspective to the time travel movie genre in "Tomorrow Ever After." Usually present day is the norm, the apex of human evolution and achievement. But Thier imagines the way a time traveler from 2592 might experience the New York City of 2015. Turns out she's horrified at the way people live in this dark time.
Thier, who serves as writer, director, producer and editor on the film, also stars as Shaina, the benevolent visitor from the future stranded in Manhattan. Having studied her history of the era, she's ready with the customary, "Hi I'm Shaina!" and a warm hug for every single stranger she encounters on the street. You can imagine how well that goes over with wary New Yorkers.
Thier plays the kooky interloper with the same open and unguarded childlike naivete as Robin Williams' beloved alien Mork. Along the way, her questioning of cultural norms highlights the alienation and isolation of modern urban life.
The themes with which Thier wrestles, and her anthropological exploration of city life is more compelling than some of the more melodramatic plot elements. But the film's flaws don't detract from the ideas she presents. While sharply critiquing society, she nonetheless praises humanity for its resilience in the face of a "great despair." Ultimately, "Tomorrow Ever After," contains a hopeful message that somehow, the world just might end up a better place.
'Tomorrow Ever After'
Running time: 1 hour, 35 minutes
Playing: Laemmle Music Hall, Beverly Hills