4 user 12 critic

Tom in America (2014)

For 50 years, Michael and Betty have been united by one guiding principle: no secrets. But when a provocative Tom of Finland doll triggers Michael's long-buried desires, Betty discovers that secrets have been part of their life all along.


Flavio Alves


Flavio Alves (co-writer), Scott Alexander Hess (co-writer) | 1 more credit »
20 wins & 12 nominations. See more awards »


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Cast overview, first billed only:
Burt Young ... Michael
Sally Kirkland ... Betty
Jacques Mitchell ... Tom
Alex Kruz ... Gus
Dawn Young ... Michele
Denise Hungerford ... Suzanne
Michael J. Cannon Michael J. Cannon ... Chuck
Edward Sass III ... Young Michael
Erika Woods ... Weather Woman
Steve Brustien ... Doctor Hesse
Wendy Callard-Booz ... Old Woman
Frank Amoruso ... as Frank Amoruso
Laurie Folkes ... as Laurie Folkes
Scott Schafer Scott Schafer ... Small Man
Mitch Giannunzio Mitch Giannunzio ... Big Man


At a party for their 50th anniversary, Michael and Betty share that the secret to their happy marriage is that they have no secrets, but nothing could be further from the truth. After Michael finds a provocative doll amongst flea market-bound trash, their world is turned upside down. Through the heartbreaking and hopeful, Betty and Michael are forced to face difficult questions about themselves, their relationship, and their future. Written by Ada Nacikligi

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Everyone has a secret

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Release Date:

17 June 2014 (USA) See more »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs




Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?


The film marks the first time Burt Young from the Rocky Franchise has played a gay man in his career. See more »


Betty: You know my mom didn't want me to marry you.
Michael: You're telling me this now?
Betty: She said, "He wants to take you to New Jersey for a honeymoon?" She said you should have taken me to Paris or Rome.
Michael: Yeah, with all the millions I had.
Betty: She said it showed you didn't have any passion for me.
[He kisses her]
Betty: What was that for?
Michael: Your mother is a filthy liar.
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Spring Discovery
Written by Walter Schick
Courtesy of Walter Schick Music
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User Reviews

A fascinating ride.
4 September 2014 | by MarcSalamantraSee all my reviews

Sex is on everyone's mind from the onset of puberty, if not before, especially in these times. Young and middle aged adults are quite horrified about the thought that old people might yet be thinking about sex, or, worse, acting upon these thoughts.

In Tom in America, it is precisely the subject of sex being conducted by old people, or even thought about, that is sensitively tackled by Flavio Alves, but from a completely new perspective in this very serious short film. In fact, it only whets one's appetite for a longer, full- length treatment of the precise issues that can only be hinted at in this brave film, which includes the bravery of the lead actors, in one history- making scene.

At an age when many people believe that the physical act of sex, or even dreaming about it is obscene, Michael and Betty's marriage of 50 years is on the verge of destruction because of it.

Michael, sympathetically portrayed by Burt Young, sells found and reclaimed objects at a flea market stand. On item he finds in the drawer of a piece of furniture discarded on the sidewalk for garbage pick up sets in motion a chain of events which causes him to confront his sexuality and his wife to question their marriage. Long simmering issues rise to the surface.

Conversations and recriminations are deftly presented by Mr. Alves. Betty and Michael question not only each other but themselves as to their true identities and roles.

The performances of the two leading characters are heart-wrenching. They reveal the requirements of the times in which they came of age and the roles they had to play, whether or not they were willing players, consciously or sub-consciously.

With one minor exception, in a tightly-scripted plot Alves puts to good advantage the brief time available to him to explain the story by utilizing very quick scenes involving secondary characters. His firm control over the shooting of the scenes is evident in the conciseness of the forward movement of his action and in the other elements contributed much to the making of this film. My one slight quibble is what seems to be an extraneous detour into an exchange between Michael and a potential customer outfitted in a hideous pink beret over her indecisiveness about a contemplated purchase. I would have preferred that her assigned exposure had been reassigned to two gentlemen seeking to close out another transaction. They could have added a bit more humor to a very serious subject!

One leaves the theater after this film with best wishes for the major protagonists and hopes for a successful search for inner peace as they go on with their lives in a new age which, I fear, has come too late for their generation.

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