Spike Lee’s “See You Yesterday” hit a lot closer to home than I expected it to. The language, the scenery, the Caribbean culture, the whole environment feels like home and New York to me. It wasn’t only the environment that made this movie stand out to me but how Claudette (CJ) carries herself through the circumstances of fear, hate, and sadness this movie vividly captured.
“See You Yesterday” is so much more than “basically a modern-day Back to the Future as stated by Alexis Jones, a writer for Marie Claire. Alexis Jones states this after writing a quick plot summary that describes the plot of a completely different movie then that of “Back to the future” leaving her description completely tone deaf. The journey that CJ goes through is filled with racial injustice and harsh decisions but with the ability of time travel she keeps running those same 10 minutes as if those 10 minutes will be the rest of her life. I can’t tell you how many times in real life I’ve seen those 10 minutes ruin somebody’s life. I’ve had the blessing to not have lost anyone personally to gun violence but I’ve seen people die from the windows, I’ve seen people lose their will to live after losing the people they love, I’ve seen the use of drugs to help numb the pain, I’ve heard the screams of mothers as their children lie on the floor. Those 10 minutes rule someone’s life thinking about the 100 ways it could’ve been avoided. If only they would’ve stayed home for 5 more minutes or if they could’ve loved them just a little bit more. I believe that CJ feels the same way she blames herself for Calvin’s death and feels that if she lets go of those 10 minutes of trying her life won’t have any meaning. It’s shown when she doesn’t even care about the expo anymore meaning she doesn’t care about scholarships, MIT, or anything else only getting her brother back. This makes me question even if CJ manages to save everyone. How long will that last. Calvin can get killed by Jared because now they have problems because of CJ. The cycle will continue, someone will die and families will get hurt and mourn. This is the cycle I have seen my entire life. Someone dies and next week someone gets killed because of it. Police come and kill someone else. It all keeps happening so quickly and we don’t all have time travel machines like CJ but I think her time travel machine can be used as a metaphor. A metaphor of all the ways things could’ve been done differently. A metaphor to how things won’t ever change. At the end of the film you see CJ running with panic on her face. I’d like to believe that she found a way to save them all or maybe she went back and destroyed the time machine but I think that what really happens is she keeps running those 10 minutes. She keeps running trying to change racism, to change jealousy, to change her very own regrets. This story is about a broken system that keeps killing her brother. This is a story about street violence. This is a story about racial injustice. This movie is not a modern back to the future.