See You Yesterday  (2019)

I love time travel movies. I love how they try to explain the science (whether they gloss over it in simple terms or try to use actual technology). I love the paradoxes that arise; I love how there are different schools of thought in how changing the past can alter the future (I tend to split things into two camps: the "Back to the Future" camp where the slightest change can alter the future in ways we can't imagine versus the "12 Monkeys" camp where you can't change anything (the Netflix show "Dark" totally messed up those theories though, which is a discussion for another time)). If I go back in time to kill someone, then that person won't exist in the future, which means I won't have to go back in time to kill them, which means they'll live, which means I'll have to go back in time to kill them, which means...

Anyway, "See You Yesterday" follow a pair of high school kids from the Bronx who manage to crack the science to create time machines. When one of their brothers is murdered, they have to decide whether going back in time to prevent his death can and should be done. In a theoretical world, we'd all go back to save a loved one, but when you start to look at things from a logical, scientific method, saving one life could have a ripple effect that could cause more damage in another way. The two kids argue back and forth between logic and emotion, and things get amplified the more they try to fix them.

Before when I said the brother was murdered, I glossed over a major plot point - he was murdered by the police (spoiler alert? it's in the trailer, sorry). There is a lot of tension built early on with a non-violent confrontation with the police, but it explodes in the second act. While a social commentary like this piled onto a sci-fi comment could have come off heavy-handed (especially with Spike Lee producing), it actually felt natural. The writer and director were able to make a point without being cliche or condescending.

Outside of a few bit of 'meh' CGI, I really enjoyed pretty much everything about this movie. A fresh-faced cast (with the exception of a great early cameo (which I won't spoil)) was great, the cinematography was interesting, the soundtrack was solid. The funny parts were funny, the serious parts were devastating.

***REAL SPOILER ALERT THIS TIME*** I usually enjoy endings that are open to interpretation, I like open-endedness, I like ambiguity. I get why most people don't, and in this case I'm torn almost straight down the middle between appreciating the unresolved nature and being very frustrated. I'm starting to fall back onto the side of supporting, but your mileage may vary.

[Celluloid Hero] gives "See You Yesterday" an 8 out of 10.

 

 

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