Save The Brother, Save The World
Time travel films are a tricky thing to get right. Even Back To The Future, for all of its critical acclaim and love, features big holes in its plot as a result of its time travel mechanics. Much like others in this genre, See You Yesterday doesn’t always nail the science or the complexion of time travel but it makes up for this in other ways. Armed with a solid story, interesting characters and a unique Latin flavour to proceedings, this teen drama makes for a surprisingly original watch.
The story is a simple one, revolving around best friends CJ and Sebastian who spend the Summer perfecting a pair of time travel machines. After several failed attempts, they strike lucky and manage to jump back in time exactly 24 hours. Before they can revel in their glory however, CJ’s brother is shot dead in present time, prompting the family to fall into a downward spiral of depression and grief. Determined to right the wrongs done to them, CJ and Sebastian formulate a plan to jump back in time and save her brother.
For the most part, the story follows the usual conventions we’ve seen time and again from this genre. From The Butterfly Effect through to The Time Machine, this crusade to saved a loved one and deal with the consequences this brings has been a staple of this genre for as long as I can remember. Still, the unique setting and interesting cast do well to hide some of the cliches here. Which is just as well too, as a lot of them do show up. Trying to avoid past iterations of themselves, zigzagging the complexions of the grandfather paradox and the cost of changing the past are all points explored throughout this teen drama.
Despite being labelled a film for teens, there’s a fair amount of cursing and mature topics explored here, much to the credit of the film. See You Yesterday isn’t afraid to tackle big topics with things like police shootings and dealing with death tackled head on here. Props to Netflix for this too, doing well to ask questions around these topics without ever falling into preachy waters.
Numerous Reggae and Latin musical montages are peppered throughout the film too, reinforcing the social themes here, along with some nice special effects around the time travel elements. Despite the time travel itself playing a central role in most of what’s going on here, it’s ultimately the teen drama and characters that make this such an enthralling watch.
See You Yesterday may have an overly familiar premise, but there’s enough originality injected to make it an enjoyable watch nonetheless. It’s certainly a culturally relevant film too and its themes are explored well without ever feeling contrived or over-the-top. There is, of course, plot inconsistencies with the whole time travel mechanics but that’s always to be expected with a film like this. It may not be the best in its genre, but it is a highly enjoyable watch and one I’d certainly recommend checking out.
Verdict - 7/10