“There is no where or when in which it is safe to be black.”
May 31, 2019 10:45 AM   Subscribe

See You Yesterday [YouTube][Official Trailer] “The new Netflix sci-fi movie isn't concerned with stopping robot uprisings (Terminator), writing a high school history paper (Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure), or reliving the 1980s (Hot Tub Time Machine). Rare for the genre, See You Yesterday imagines time travel as a way to correct a societal wrong, to undo evil of a more on-the-ground variety: Its protagonists, teenage science whizzes Claudette/CJ (Eden Duncan-Smith) and Sebastian (Dante Crichlow), build a time machine to try to stop CJ's brother from being shot by police.” [via: Wired] [**Minor Spoilers Underneath the Fold**]

• The Promise of a Black Future Is Compromised in See You Yesterday [Jezebel]
“As often happens with contemporary art, the past few years have brought an influx of socially focused art that reflects the anxieties of the time. In this case, that anxiety is the specific issue of police brutality and the way it infects and affects black teens’ lives, and how they’re forced to cope with the trauma of ever-present violence. In Stefon Bristol’s quietly subversive See You Yesterday (produced by Spike Lee), police brutality comes face to face with science fiction and the fleeting hope of avoiding the pain of state-sanctioned violence. The Hate U Give with a time travel twist, See You Yesterday is about what happens when the realities of anti-blackness encroach on the dreams of black youth.”
• See You Yesterday is Back to the Future with sharp social commentary [The Verge]
“As that plot summary suggests, it’s about the personal fallout of racist over-policing. Calvin’s fate echoes the deaths of many other young black men who are killed by police without provocation, particularly Emantic Fitzgerald Bradford Jr., fatally shot last year in an apparent case of mistaken identity. The officers here aren’t monstrous or outspokenly hateful, but they treat a far-from-threatening teenager as inherently hostile and dangerous, manageable only with lethal force. See You Yesterday draws on years of tension between black New Yorkers and the New York Police Department, and it places Calvin’s death in the context of Black Lives Matter protests. But it spends more time exploring the devastation and powerlessness that C.J. and her family feel. Lots of time-travel stories question whether people can change history. In See You Yesterday, the idea becomes a broad metaphor for the rigged systems of social injustice.”
• “See You Yesterday” and the Perils—and Promise—of Time-Travelling While Black [The New Yorker]
““See You Yesterday,” which was produced by Spike Lee, takes a different approach. Its protagonists, C.J. and Sebastian, are black teen-age geniuses who figure out the secret to time travel for a science expo at school. When C.J.’s older brother is shot dead by police, she decides to go back in time to prevent his murder. Though the movie encounters some of the usual pitfalls of time-travel plots (predictability, muddled rules) and sports some hokey, eighties-style special effects, what it offers in terms of diversity and messaging is a treasure. As C.J. and Sebastian work out the fantastical science of time travel in a garage, it feels practical, grounded in the reality of black American life. The two don’t set out to change the world or alter their own lives, nor do they jump far into the past or future for an excellent Bill and Ted–style adventure. They’re not thrilled to have one-upped Einstein; they just want to get scholarships to college so they can leave their neighborhood. And C.J. just wants her brother back. Their actions and motivations are contained to this one very real instance of police brutality, so the plot never loses its footing in the real world.”
• Back in time: See You Yesterday brings time travel to the streets of Flatbush [Ars Technica]
“That theme is articulated early on in a cameo by Michael J. Fox (Marty McFly himself) as C.J. and Sebastian's science teacher, Mr. Lockhart. He asks them to ponder the ethical and philosophical complexities inherent in time travel: what to decide to change, and what to leave intact in the timeline. Sebastian also has some misgivings: "It's about controlling something we obviously have no control over." The less said about the ending, the better, because it's designed to spark reflection and debate. "When people finish watching the movie, I want them to have a conversation," said Bristol. For all the tragic elements in his film, Bristol hopes it also sends a message of hope. "I want to tell people that what happened in the past is the reason you're here today," he said. "I wouldn't change anything in my past, [even though] I wish I'd done some things differently. If I didn't go through what I went through, I wouldn't have this success right now. So make the most of your future, because the future is wider than you think."”
posted by Fizz (9 comments total) 25 users marked this as a favorite
 
Well. That looks incredible.
posted by odinsdream at 11:50 AM on May 31


Fanfare thread
posted by oh yeah! at 11:54 AM on May 31


I will definitely watch, but am feeling like it (the trailer at least) is exploring the same territory as the Groundhog Day short on YT a few years back.
posted by SoundInhabitant at 11:59 AM on May 31 [2 favorites]


Saw it & liked it. It's an imaginative, original take on time travel & very much a Spike Lee joint, 2 things I never thought to put together but actually work well. Doesn't get bogged down in the science but not so "magic gadgety" as to take away from its plausibility.
posted by scalefree at 2:30 PM on May 31


I watched it last night and enjoyed it. It's been a long time since I watched Run Lola Run but it seemed like See You Yesterday leaned on it too hard. But I enjoyed the smaller nods to other films, especially the prominent but brief cameo of a related film star at the beginning of the movie.
posted by ElKevbo at 2:56 PM on May 31


Watched it already. Really quite good. To me, kind of had an Ironheart/Riri Williams vibe.
posted by WCityMike at 3:38 PM on May 31


I watched the first 20 minutes or so before I got sidelined and haven't been able to finish. Looking for the time to do so. It's fun, seems to have the right mix of comedy and drama, and the two young leads are really appealing actors. Look for the wholly appropriate cameo (supporting role?) near the start!
posted by zardoz at 6:44 PM on May 31 [1 favorite]


Well, Riri is slightly underwritten as a character, so, yes, a vibe

Sounds like a good riff on Kindred, thanks for sharing!
posted by eustatic at 9:52 AM on June 1 [1 favorite]


Quantum Leap?
posted by TheDukeOfChalfont at 11:50 AM on June 1


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