See You Yesterday

CJ (Eden Duncan-Smith) and Sebastian (Dante Chrichlow) are the smartest kids in their Bronx high school, and they’ve got the perfect experiment to win a pair of scholarships to M.I.T.: a time machine.

Any time travel movie that makes a bold reference to Back To The Future is all right in my book, but this one’s got an even twistier twist. It’s a time travel movie with a social conscience.

CJ’s brother Calvin (Astro) is one of the dozens of unarmed young black men who get murdered by the police every year. If you were a teenage girl with both a dead brother and the ability to move through time and space, wouldn’t you go back to save him?

But like their high school teacher tries to warn them, time travel has moral and ethical MV5BMmU4ZDYxZTUtMmI0My00MGVmLWE2NGYtZDQ2NmE5ZjQ0ZWE0XkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyMDM2NDM2MQ@@._V1_SY1000_SX1500_AL_implications that are not just beyond their understanding, but beyond ours. Even the tiniest unintentional change can have unpredictable consequences.

Despite its science fiction premise, See You Yesterday feels very grounded thanks to its social relevance, its community in mourning, and the anger that simmers just below the surface. I really enjoyed this genre mashup, the in-your-faceness of reality interfacing with the fantasy. The world feels believable too – sure there are a surprising number of nawt nerds in one high school, but CJ and Sebastian are experimenting in grandpa’s garage, with grandma’s cheese and cracker snacks. The cast is uniformly strong, but Duncan-Smith is the inevitable stand-out.

It’s the grieving, though, that makes this film exceptional. I had no idea what I was in for when I put this movie on. I didn’t expect to be moved. I didn’t expect such powerful imagery. Plenty of sci-fi has a social agenda, but most have to be set in the dystopian future to make their point. This one is set today. Without ever saying it, the message is clear: if you’re poor, if you’re a minority, today IS your dystopia. But director Stefon Bristol leaves us with a shard of hope: the future is female. The future is black. The future may be a young kid working away in the garage next door. Please don’t shoot her.

Advertisements

4 thoughts on “See You Yesterday

  1. J.

    Spotted this when browsing for something to watch at the weekend, but didn’t really pay much attention to it (an issue with Netflix sometimes is just how rubbish the synopsis is). I’ll jump back in and add it to my list.

    Like

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s