This film was not on my radar, as is normal with most Netflix movies, but there was something about this film I just couldn’t ignore. How could a film have 93% with critics and only 39% with audiences? Why is the film doing so poorly with general audiences? Is it because the film is being ‘review bombed’ by alt-right trolls? Or is it because it’s arguably the most divisive film of the year? The split between critics and audiences was too big to ignore and one name made the picture as clear as day…Spike Lee. Yep, buckle up.
See You Yesterday is a film about two teenagers living in Brooklyn, New York. C.J. Walker and her best friend Sebastian are on the verge of creating a time travel loop using a smartphone and a backpack (stay with me). However, their success in jumping 24 hours back in time is short-lived when C.J.’s other brother is murdered by the police (don’t leave yet). In an act of desperation, C.J. decides to use her newly founded time travel ability to go back and prevent the incident from happening. However, every attempt to save her brother ends up with yet another tragedy.
It only took me about 10 minutes to figure out why critics loved this film while audiences hated it. See You Yesterday is an activist film masquerading as a sci-fi movie. If you were one of the people who thought this film was a good choice to waste 80 minutes watching on Netflix…you got duped. The film reaffirms the narrative of Spike Lee that the #1 enemy of black people in the United States is white police officers. Police see black people in this film and immediately go into kill mode without hesitation. That is the prevailing message of the movie, dealing with the cops in any fashion if you are black will lead to your death.
The entire ‘sci-fi’ element of the movie revolves around our borderline unlikable protagonist (who doesn’t grow or learn anything throughout the entire course of the film, but she is really smart) going back in time only to see someone close to her get killed, most of the time by a cop. According to progressives, this is the black experience and this is why the movie is lauded by critics. As an audience member, there is nothing enjoyable about such a divisive message like this. There is no escapism, there is no entertainment value in a film that suckers you into a progressive lecture at the cost of $15.99 a month, they don’t even have the decency to give you an ending. That’s right, the film has NO ENDING. At the end of the day, you are better off getting robbed in real life because at least then you have something exciting that would have happened to you in the course of 80 minutes.
The best thing I can say about See You Yesterday is that it looks great visually. New York City proves to be a great filming location. Otherwise, unless you’re watching this film to feel bad about America or ‘strike up conversation’ about police murder and brutality in this country, you are simply better off avoiding this film at all costs. Hard pass.