By the time she hurriedly gives him his first bike ride, Tom has been portrayed by three actors (Levi Emerson Paul, Judah Abner Paul, and Joshua Paul), and he now inhabits the body of a young man old enough to drive. When Tom asks to take the wheel, Jess quickly retorts: “You aren’t old enough to drive,” before pausing and looking again. “Or maybe you are.”
She then makes the mistake of allowing the impulsive lad behind the wheel, who immediately darts to a nearby strip club, leaving Jess to hoof it there just before he gets into too much trouble. Hours before, young Tom had a fascination with a sailboat, so Jess is determined to head to nearby Chicago for him to hit the water before he reaches middle-age.
Jess also has intentions of helping delay Tom’s “life-in-a-day” disease, but it means connecting with a former lover, a Chicago college professor who has placed a restraining order on her after her past impulsive behavior.
“Buzan is outstanding, providing authentic, frantic frailty to her role as Jess.”
Throughout, Tom of Your Life is punctuated by twangy, y’all-ternative ditties (sung by Sklar with his band Blackstrap Molasses) that give the film a refreshing, summer-wind vibe that sweeps over its entirety. Buzan is outstanding, providing authentic, frantic frailty to her role as Jess. Additionally, every actor involved is provided moments to shine through quick asides or reactions.
It should also be noted that it’s captured and rendered stunningly by cinematographer Christopher Rejano, who bathes the film in a twilight hue to match the bold autumn colors that burst within the trees surrounding the leads.
Like the hurried, harried Jess, the film seldom pauses to speechify, provide fortune-cookie wisdom or offer misty montages of life. Instead, it merely trots along from one beguiling awkward setup to the next, breaking only to laugh a little along the way.
And that is perhaps Tom of Your Life’s short, sweet lesson: Time itself flies by so quickly that we should not stop to take ourselves so seriously and merely enjoy the few comical moments within.
"…Tom trots along from one beguiling awkward setup to the next, breaking only to laugh a little along the way. "