Living life in a lie and only allowing yourself that as your identity is taxing. Before long, who you might have been before the lie is forgotten. Never again does a past name ring of familiarity. How it goes for our beloved superheroes is even harder. While “The Incredibles” exuberantly explored the issue of the double lives of superheroes, “Tomorrow’s Memoir” delicately thumbs through the life of an aging man. Imagine it as if you were watching a comic book but instead of the hard-lined action and intense scenes between hero and villain, the hero is battling himself, trying to understand why he did what he did, not wanting to do it and then realizing that even in all the years when he’s been forced to hide his true self as a simple citizen, the city in which he lives comes first.
The city in which this particular man (Stephen Jefferys) lives has its fair share of problems. Bombings all over, dangers to everyone, and there’s not really any place safe enough to completely shield the day from all the problems. Awash in light green, purple, and golden lighting, the mood is set and never falters. As this creaking face stares at a typewriter and begins his memoirs, he narrates what he feels. Lately, he’s been watched by a detective (Michael Collier) whose grandfather he knew. Meanwhile, he tries to balance his split life, telling us about his marriage and exhibiting great fondness for the woman he once loved. All the while, he wonders. He wonders what benefit he served his city if he had no choice but to hide out. If his identity was fully revealed, he may have well been swamped by grateful admirers or chided by a corrupt mayor’s administration for doing what the mayor cannot. It creates more trouble than it’s worth. But looking at his eyes, those eyes which put together David Paymer’s and David Hyde Pierce’s own sets, there’s genuine feeling toward him for what he’s done all these years. Life is unfortunately made up of limited years and what’s done is based on what we chose to do, how we spent the days, what we chose for a career, if we decided that marriage was a worthwhile prospect, and more which floods us with more information and decisions than 24-hour news networks.
Devoted readers of comic books will pick up on who this man might be. The dates on the newspapers may clue you in. Even fleeting exposure to comic books is no problem as our pop culture is completely saturated by heroes that have come from the past and remained in the present. Above all this, writer/director James Cliffe is truly a remarkable filmmaker. He isn’t a hormonally-controlled fanboy out to genuflect billions of times at his favorite superheroes. Being enveloped by years of comic books, he’s given deep thought to countless characters seen over the years and put it together. Seeing superheroes with the same concerns we have as ordinary people is consistently fascinating and it’s what makes “Tomorrow’s Memoir” one of the most masterful interpretations of the entire superhero legacy.