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Jhe path from stage to screen can be fraught with pitfalls: a musical, for example, should not unfold like a succession of music videos, but establish a coherent visual language. That’s what’s missing in Nick Winston’s reworking of his own staging of the same title.

Tomorrow Morning follows married couple Jack (Ramin Karimloo) and Catherine (Samantha Barks) through two distinct phases of their relationship; it juxtaposes the idealistic adoration felt before their wedding day with the animosity that arises a decade later when the couple argue over divorce settlements and property rights. This stark contrast is intended to reflect the ebb and flow of domestic partnerships as well as the individual evolution that occurs between young adulthood and middle age. Once a budding novelist, Jack is now chained to an advertising job while Catherine’s painting career blossoms.

Probing these contemporary concerns, Tomorrow Morning could have been an intriguing slice-of-life musical drama. But there are real problems: the haphazardly sketched characters render the room soulless, and the sketchily designed decor decoration means the couple’s penthouse lacks lived-in quality – it looks like a nondescript estate show home, containing no memories of a decade-long marriage. Rudimentary visualization of songs doesn’t help either.

While the stage productions of Tomorrow Morning have received favorable reviews, films like Dear Evan Hansen prove that even a successful musical can turn into a mediocre movie. I don’t know if these are songs that were newly written for the movie adaptation, but lyrics like “I’m sticking around / While you act like Ho Chi Minh” are particularly shocking on screen. Under such flimsy management, not even a charming appearance by Joan Collins can breathe life into this lukewarm affair.

Tomorrow Morning hits theaters September 2.


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