IT MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS OF SEE YOU THEN!
If there is something that I usually appreciate in films is their genuine, most vulnerable sides, exposing the characters’ truths to the viewer, and See You Then is one of those kinds of films. Being part of this year’s edition of the SXSW Film Festival selection, See You Then is a small gem directed by Mari Walker. After so many years of losing touch, Kris, a transgender woman, decides to reconnect with Naomi, a former lover and friend, inviting her to dinner so they can catch up with everything that has been happening in their lives, until a huge secret is revealed, leaving their future uncertain.
See You Then is an extraordinary, precious film, that keeps its goals straight to the point, with captivating dialogues, which span over the vulnerabilities of both characters and difficult decisions they made after they broke up so many years ago. Not only does Kris open up about transitioning, but also speaks about the process of integrating society as a woman. On the other hand, Naomi, who is currently a mother, is baffled by the sudden appearance of her former college lover, who has changed so much from what she knew, and tries to have closure on their sudden break up a decade ago, exposing her feelings of abandonment and much needed enlightenment on the issue. See You Then always feels very natural on the way it depicts the characters, bringing them to the public in a way that reminds us of the honesty of art pieces like the Before trilogy; by creating an atmosphere that is always changing sides and never wasting time on superficial matters, See You Then achieves a level of mastery rarely caught on film.
Although there is some editing that reveals itself a bit amateurish, See You Then has its heart delivered due to the outstanding performances of Lynn Chen and Pooya Mohseni, who manage to make the characters real and palpable to the audience. The exquisite way the script uncovers and leaves the characters exposed, making them face their realities, vulnerabilities, flaws, life choices, is artistically flawless. Even if the dramatic climax seems a bit too much for such a simplistic and lighthearted drama, it shows how Walker knows exactly where to place the boom in order to shift the course of events. The plot twist doesn’t feel unreal or subservient of the Hollywood entertainment norms, but instead acts like a plausible turning point in which it reminds the audience after so much proximity between the characters that they were once lovers and never got the chance of making ends meet after so many years of answered questions and a broken heart. See You Then is a raw, masterfully crafted piece that doesn’t forget that every action has its own consequence: either will it be positive or negative. Surprisingly, the film manages to become an artistic achievement, not only for its social relevance, but also for its undeniable humanity, discarding the most obvious clichés of the genre, and renouncing the usual mainstream formula, in order to make something believable, real that resonates to society.
See You Then is essential filmmaking. A film that speaks directly to the heart and that has two brave women at the top of their game reflecting on how it’s never too late to fix relationships and make amends for past mistakes. But most importantly, it’s a film that reminds society of how dialogue is still the most effective path to define us as individuals and to unite us. Mari Walker has managed to create something truly special with See You Then, and although some improved editing was needed to provide a more engaging approach to the characters, it doesn’t ruin anything regarding the way they express themselves and doesn’t remove the excitement from the viewer of its extraordinary, poetry-like dialogues that strike us like a lightning bolt. Indeed a film not to be missed, See You Then has award season written all over it and has a freshness that Hollywood absolutely needs right now in order to tell more original and enthusiastic stories.
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Title: See You Then
Original Title: See You Then
Director: Mari Walker
Runtime: 75 min.
Trailer | See You Then