Turning back the hands of time is a tricky thing, especially in the new Netflix original film, “See You Yesterday.”
Directed by Stefon Bristol and co-written by both Bristol and Fredrica Bailey and produced by Spike Lee, the movie is based off of the 2017 short of the same name.
“See You Yesterday” follows Eden Duncan-Smith as C.J. Walker, a smart, independent high school student who wants to do one thing — create time machines for herself and her best friend, Sebastian Thomas (Dante Crichlow), so they can move from Brooklyn to top ivy league universities such as Brown, Morehouse or Yale.
C.J. does the seemingly impossible by creating two functioning time machines for herself and Sebastian, and they’re elated. They did it. They have their ticket out of Brooklyn.
A day or two passes, and it’s the Fourth of July. C.J.’s older brother, Calvin (Astro, “Red Band Society”), and a friend are just walking down the street when two other African-American men, who just robbed a bodega, run past them. A police car follows and stops Calvin and his friend. Unfortunately, you might know what happens next if you’ve seen the trailer for “See You Yesterday.”
Calvin, unarmed, is gunned down by two quick-to-judge cops. Stunned, but not beaten down by her new, shattered world, C.J. comes up with a perfect plan — travel back in time with Sebastian to try and stop Calvin’s untimely, racially charged death.
It’s not all that simple though. There are rules to time travel. C.J. and Sebastian cannot interfere with anything else that happened that day, and they can’t let their past selves see their present selves.
Both Smith and Crichlow starred in the 2017 short “See You Yesterday,” also directed by Bristol and co-written by Bristol and Bailey.
There has to be a deeper meaning behind the ending of “See You Yesterday.”
Coming off of a huge disappointment from a certain HBO series finale, I wanted and expected so much more for the ending of this film.
With impeccable, emotional acting from Smith (watch out for Lee’s famous dolly-shot) and scenes that may be difficult for viewers to watch (because of the past and present racial climate in the United States), “See You Yesterday” starts out feeling lighthearted, fun and real. But it quickly turns into a desperate mission filled with anger and despair.
However, you’ll still be enjoying the film right up until the very last moments.
The ending may leave viewers feeling hopeful and helpless all at the same time.