Content warning: death of a parent, police violence and gun violence. I will be discussing the last two items in this list in my review.
See You Yesterday is a 2019 science fiction film about C.J. and Sebastian, two high school students who are best friends, fellow science enthusiasts, and inventors.
Their latest invention is a backpack that allows the person wearing it to travel back into time. The technology wasn’t perfect. It could only go back into the recent past and could only be used a certain number of times. They were still figuring out how to change those limitations when the events of this film took place.
After C.J.’s older brother, Calvin, was murdered by the police, she and Sebastian decided to use their unfinished invention to travel back in time and save her brother before time ran out for him for good.
C.J. was the protagonist of this tale. As an incredibly intelligent and driven young woman, she believed she could solve any problem that came her way by seeking the scientifically correct answer to it.
Sebastian was C.J.’s best friend. He was just as intelligent as C.J. but tended to be more cautious about trying new things until he’d gathered all of the date he needed about how they worked.
C.J. and Sebastian’s science teacher
Mr. Lockhart was C.J. and Sebastian’s supportive science teacher. He didn’t believe in time travel, but he did believe that his two smartest students would do incredible things with their lives. Supportive teacher, but doesn’t believe in time travel.
Anyone who is a fan of this actor’s previous work will find a delightful Easter Egg about it at some point in this tale.
Calvin was C.J.’s overprotective but loving older brother. He admired his sister’s intellect and believed that she’d one day make life better for their entire family because of it.
This was such a good story that I’m planning to watch it again!
Obviously, there were strong social justice themes in this movie. The blurb and trailer for it will give that fact away immediately to anyone who somehow missed it. C.J.’s invention was really cool in and of itself, but the thought of it being used to right terrible wrongs only made me more curious to see if and how she’d reach her goal of saving her brother’s life.
C.J.’s character development was beautifully handled. There were excellent reasons for her sometimes stubborn behaviour and unshakeable belief that science can be used any problem if one works hard enough to understand what happened and how it can be changed. I’ll leave it up to other viewers to discover these things for themselves, but it was delightful to see how her past and present shaped who C.J. was and who she was becoming.
There were a couple of fantastic plot twists later on in the storyline. They made perfect sense given everything C.J. had gone through earlier. While I did see them coming due to how familiar I am with tropes in the young adult and science fiction genres, I’d be pretty curious to find out if other audience members had the same reaction to them. Either way, they enhanced the viewing experience nicely.
My brain is beyond eager to discuss the ending in this post, but I’ll need to carefully dance around what actually happened in it in order to avoid spoilers. What I can say is that it fit the themes of this tale well and it had a powerful message for audience members about how we should respond to police and gun violence.
Ending on such thoughtful terms was such a great decision. I’ve read that the director isn’t planning to make a sequel, so it looks like the audience will have come up with our own theories about what might happen next.
A Note on the Violence Tags in My Review
Some of the violence was implied. Other acts of violence were shown directly to the audience, albeit in a sensitive and thoughtful manner. There were the briefest hints of blood in a couple of scenes, but in general this was a pretty blood-free story (especially given the subject matter).
See You Yesterday is something that I’d recommend just as highly to adult viewers as I would it’s original young adult audience.
See You Yesterday is available on Netflix.