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Nine-year-old Mathilde (Luce Rodriguez) cares for herself and her mother, Madame Zasinger (Noémie Lvovsky), even as she copes with the often unkind vicissitudes of childhood. Madame Zasinger, when lucid, is aware of the effects of her mental fragility on Mathilde, whom she loves and treasures beyond all things. But no amount of love or regret or momentary awareness can halt Madame Zasinger’s journey into a different and private reality. This mother’s love is matched by her daughter’s, who is not only remarkably capable and resourceful, but compassionate, kind, patient, and steadfast. Her love for her mother is unshakable; her acceptance complete.
Then into Mathilde’s life comes a true and understanding friend — an owl. Not only can he read Mathilde’s heart, but his life principles mirror her own. Whilst he cannot solve Mathilde’s problems, he is as loyally there for her as she is for her mother.
This is no ordinary or predictable portrayal of a role reversal between an adult and a child, but rather something much more profound and truthful. Though one is [as] mentally frail and the other strong, this is a relationship founded on equal and unbreakable love. There are no clichés or easy answers here.
Rarely will you see a film as extraordinary as Tomorrow and Thereafter. Beautifully shot and visually captivating, it is both heartbreaking and life- and love-affirming as it sweeps along on its unusual journey toward a delicate resolution.
MICHELE E. HAWKINS