Directed by Benjamin Rider
Starring Daniel Garcia, Matthew Hartley, Alice Pitt-Carter, Yuna Shin, & Rebecca Tromans
Indie Film Review by Chris Olson
The multi-narrative movie is a difficult one to pull off. The complexities involved in interweaving several plot threads mean that the pitfalls are multiplied, making the storytelling that much more likely to fail when it comes to engaging the audience. Indie film Forever Tomorrow, written and directed by Benjamin Rider, avoids all those pitfalls with a story that is simultaneously disconnected and intertwined, but does stumble on some of the fundamentals of filmmaking.
Telling separate tales of alcoholics, all of whom attend or are connected to an Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) meeting, Forever Tomorrow is a movie about the cost of addiction, and also the necessary human spirit in order to overcome, or at least control, it. Many of the alcohol dependents have very different lives from each other in Rider’s film, with their addiction affecting their day-to-days in varying degrees of destructive chaos, but one constant remains - that a significant part of their character is determined by their cravings. Through the use of long soliloquies during the AA meetings, and external plot threads in the outside world, the audience is shown dramatic, and often poignant, moments that these characters experience.
Noble in spirit (excuse the pun) and affecting in many moments, Rider’s indie drama is an evocative film. Regrettably there are a few elements which drag it down from being a more powerful movie, aspects that could have been avoided.
The first is the performances. During the moments in the AA meeting, there are some outstanding turns from the various cast members, who are given such an emotional clarity in their lines from Rider, and the time on screen to be fully fleshed out, that I could have quite happily watched ninety minutes of them! One of which, from Yuna Shin, was simply sublime. There were others too that were wholly enjoyable and compelling. Contrast this with the sequences that take place away from the meeting, and it is like watching two different films. Sadly the film leans too heavily on Daniel Garcia, who plays a rent boy called Aaron, whose wooden delivery often leaves him completely outmatched in his scenes with various patrons, such as Rebecca Tromans who is pretty decent.
The second element is the music. At times it was perfectly suited to the tone of the scene it was complementing, however, there were more than a few sequences which were utterly jarred by loud, scraping violins, or ridiculous techno music. It seems like the filmmaker was trying to add chaos to the scene to reveal the character’s tumultuous experiences, but all it did was rob the scenes of their pathos. The most affecting scenes, as mentioned, were the AA meetings where there was no score.
Cinematically the film was intimate and raw, which was to its credit. Close up shots were used to get awkwardly close to these characters so it felt uncomfortable, such as an aging alcoholic giving life advice to her daughter (Alice Pitt-Carter), or Aaron in bed with one of his many clients. The movie also captured the themes that were swirling around well, keeping the audience in an unrelenting state of anxiety by using a fast pace and numerous locations.
Rider deserves worthy mention for tackling heavy themes in a way which is complex and intelligent, doing justice to the seriousness of the affliction. At times the film’s occupants failed to keep up with this loftier ideal, but overall Forever Tomorrow is an impressive collection of subtle stories and voices that join together to create a cacophony of cravings that is engaging and dramatic.