“The House of Tomorrow” offers hope

Courtesy of Shout! Studios

Courtesy of Shout! Studios

Good movies tell good stories that people want to see. While it is true that the highest grossing movies are special-effects driven, those with a lasting impact tell compelling stories. Think of “The Godfather,” “The Sound of Music” and “Gone With the Wind.” These all are story-driven and have been popular among people of all ages. This year at the Gasparilla Film Festival, “The House of Tomorrow” was screened and it tells an important story of hope.

Sebastian (Asa Butterfield of “Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children” and “Hugo”) lives in a geodesic dome with his grandmother, played by Academy Award-winning actress Ellen Burstyn. They live an alternative life where she home-schools him and they give tours of their home to promote the science of the geodesic form and living off-the-grid. A tour from a local church comes and Sebastian’s life is changed forever.

Jared Whitcomb (Alex Wolff of “Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle” and “Hereditary”) is a rebellious teen whose father is the youth pastor. He doesn’t seem too interested in the tour, but Sebastian is fascinated by him. When Sebastian asks what music he is listening to, he says, “Today, it’s the Germs” and lets Sebastian listen.

The music instantly captivates Sebastian. He later goes to the Whitcombs’ home to learn more about punk rock. The two decide to form a band, so Jared teaches Sebastian how to play the bass guitar for a few songs. This is where the audience learns that Jared had a heart transplant and is not healthy.

Through their mutual love of this alternative music, the boys discover who they really are. They go see a band because Jared wants to recruit their drummer. This is where Sebastian truly finds his love for punk rock. While getting pushed around by people in the audience, his smile keeps getting bigger.

Both boys are at odds with their families due to their desire to play music and not follow in the footsteps of others. They are outsiders to the rest of the world as well, Jared because of his poor health and Sebastian because of his life of isolation. Through the music, they are able to find the love they desire. They are able to communicate their frustrations in a more healthy way.

Peter Livolsi, who wrote and directed “The House of Tomorrow,” clearly knows what punk is about and realistically writes characters that not only like the music, but “need” the music. In real life, many people who get involved with punk rock are young and angry about the world or their personal situations and find solace in the music.

When the boys are writing songs, Jared says they need to write about topics that make them mad. Sebastian says he isn’t really mad about anything and suggests they write about what makes them sad. Jared replies that sad topics are better suited for country music. They write a song called “Stupid School” that focuses on things the boys are forced to do.

Even people, who don’t like punk rock will find something to relate to Sebastian and Jared. People will see two outsiders that just want to belong somewhere and not feel so isolated. The theme is universal and is done in a modern way with a unique concept. The hope for the future for the two main characters makes this movie one to watch and rewatch.