Price of a Life

Every second matters when playing with time.  In “See You Yesterday”, we have a complex mesh of time travel, racism, police brutality and teenage drama.  We have two teenage geniuses trying to prevent the thoughtless killing of one teenager’s older brother by the police. With the current state of the world, this could be  a story that is currently happening.

The senseless murder of Calvin was the impetus for this story.  Before it happened, the story seemed like any other teenage drama with C.J. and Sebastian trying to make a time machine for an expo.  There was even a small cameo from Micheal J. Fox, the protagonist in the “Back to the Future” series.   This all seemed to be a happy story about two geniuses and their time machine.  But after some drama with C.J.’s ex, the story takes a sharp turn to the dark end with the reckless police shooting of Calvin.  This sparks the protagonists’ to develop the time machine to try to save Calvin.  The story begins to explore the racism and police brutality.

The ending felt off for how the story progressed.  Towards the end of the story when Sebastian was shot instead of Calvin, we had potential point of character development.  It seemed like  Calvin help C.J. understand that messing with time was going to cause more problems than anything and that going back in time could have resulted into both of them dying in the past.  It also almost seemed like Calvin convinced her that friends were important to help her achieve her goal.  Calvin even says that he wants her to try her hardest to convince his past self but most important was for her to stay alive.  But when we reach the ending, it seemed like everything that Calvin said was for naught.  C.J. tries so hard to convince past Calvin and then sticks around for the police which is not what the future Calvin wanted.  She puts both Sebastian and herself in danger again which causes past Calvin to sacrifice himself to protect them.   In the very end, C.J. pushes away Sebastian to go at it again by herself which also goes against everything that Calvin was trying to convince her not to do.  I felt like the ending should have been at least Calvin surviving or C.J. accepting that time is too dangerous to play with.  If Calvin survived, we could have had a happy ending that would wrap up the story like a bow.  If C.J. were to accept time was too dangerous, it would have re-established her character development and made Calvin’s sacrifice to save C.J. and Sebastian more meaningful.  The scriptwriter’s choice to make C.J. go ahead to go at it alone seems off.

I think an interesting metaphor that appeared while watching this movie was the idea that time stops for the victim’s family of police shootings.  Like for C.J., they relive the day of their family member’s death over and over.  They grieve and think of ways that they could do differently that may have changed the course of event on that day.  C.J. is givens chance here to actually experience the different possibilities to that could have been.

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